In December 2015, we reported that two long-awaited amendments to the Polish Industrial Property Law of June 30, 2000 would come into force in 2015 and 2016 respectively. See December 2015 Newsletter. The second amendment, which took effect on April 15, 2016, transforms the trademark application examination and opposition process. The salient features of the amendments include:
- Applications will be examined for formal requirements and on absolute grounds only (previously, they were also examined on relative grounds).
- The Polish Patent Office will inform the applicant of the existence of prior identical or similar marks for identical or similar goods/services. But the Office will not inform the owners of earlier marks about applied-for new marks.
- Oppositions may be filed within three months of the publication date.
- There will be a cooling-off period of two months in opposition proceedings, with a further extension of up to six months available on unanimous written request of the parties.
- In response to an opposition, the applicant may allege non-use of the opposer’s earlier mark for an uninterrupted period of five years before the filing date of the opposed application. Such an allegation, if accepted, will be the basis for dismissal of the opposition.
- Parties may file a motion for reconsideration of the Polish Patent Office’s decision on an opposition to the Office’s adjudicative boards for litigation matters.
- Legal interest is no longer required to file a request for cancellation. But only owners of prior rights may refer to those rights.
- A request for cancellation may not be filed if an earlier valid decision was issued dismissing an opposition based on the same legal grounds.