Two long-awaited amendments to the Industrial Property Law of June 30, 2000 will come into force in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The first bill to amend the Law comes into effect on December 1, 2015. Significant changes include:
- Acceptance of letters of consent by the Patent Office, whereby owners of earlier rights may agree to registration of later identical or similar trademarks that would otherwise by refused;
- Allowance of owners’ requests to divide applications and registrations during opposition or cancellation proceedings, while retaining a priority date; and
- Lifting of the ban on using POLSKA, POLAND or abbreviations thereof, and Polish city and town names as part of a trademark.
The second bill to amend the Law enters into force on April 15, 2016. Salient changes include:
- Removal of relative grounds as a basis to refuse registration;
- Filing of oppositions within 3 months of publication, with the Patent Office informing applicants about possible conflicting trademarks (but not informing owners of prior trademarks about a new application);
- Removal of the requirement to prove legal interest to file a trademark invalidation action based on absolute grounds, or a trademark revocation action based on non-use.