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Proceedings before the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland

15 April 2020
The announcement of the state of the epidemic in Poland has led to the statutory regulation of the functioning of bodies dealing with intellectual property protection.  The amendments include the national procedure before the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, regional procedure before EUIPO and international procedure before WIPO.

1. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE PATENT OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

In view of the state of the epidemic, the Polish Parliament has adopted comprehensive regulations concerning many areas of law and life of citizens, including the Act amending the Act on special arrangements for preventing and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them and certain other acts of 31 March 2020. (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 568).

During the epidemic emergency or the state of epidemic announced due to COVID-19, the following statutory periods stipulated by administrative law shall not commence and, if commenced, shall be suspended for the duration of the pandemic:

  • periods relevant for obtainment legal protection before the court or authority,
  • periods for taking an action by a party that shapes its rights and obligations,
  • statutory periods of limitation of claims,
  • periods which, if not complied with, result in the expiration or modification of property rights or claims, or cause a state of a delay,
  • statutory deadlines, which if not complied with, has adverse statutory consequences for a party,
  • time limits for the entities or organisational units subject to registration in a relevant register for making registration in such a relevant register, as well as time limits for these entities' performance of obligations under statutory provisions that regulate their activities.

However, legal actions taken in exercise of the one's rights or obligations during the period of suspension of commencement or suspension of the duration of statutory periods, shall be effective.

During the epidemic emergency or the state of epidemic announced due to COVID, the run of procedural and court deadlines in:

  • court proceedings, including court and administrative proceedings,
  • administrative proceedings,
  • other proceedings conducted under the law in force.

shall not commence, and if commenced, shall be suspended for this period.

During the period of suspension of commencement or suspension of the statutory periods, no open hearings or court sessions shall be held. 

The actions taken during the aforementioned period shall be effective.

In addition, during this period:

  • provisions relating to the authorities' inactivity and
  • the authorities' obligation to notify a party or a participant to the proceedings of the failure to timely handle a matter.

shall not apply.

Moreover, the authorities conducting proceedings shall not be subject to penalties or fines, nor shall they be ordered to pay compensatory amounts to those who made complaints for a failure to issue adjudications within the time limits laid down by law. The cessation of activities by an authority conducting the proceedings within the indicated period cannot be a basis for deriving legal measures concerning inactivity, lengthiness or infringement of the party's right to have the case reviewed without unjustified delay.

In addition, detailed regulations have been introduced for trade marks and European patents and pursuant to these regulations in the period from:

8 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 

the run of the statutory period for:

  • filing an opposition against a trade mark application referred to in the Industrial Property Law of 30 June 2000 (Journal of Laws of 2020, items 286 and 288), and
  • filing a translation of a European patent into Polish at the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, and
  • filing of a translation into Polish of a limited or modified European patent referred to in the Act on filing of European patent applications and the effects of the European patent in the Republic of Poland of 14 March 2003 (Journal of Laws of 2016, item 2).

shall not commence, and if commenced, shall run anew.

NOTE: The time limits run from 1 July 2020.

EXCEPTION: Given that the Act has only referred to a certain category of rights, it should be borne in mind that the above rules do not apply to oppositions in case of other types of intellectual property rights, i.e. industrial design, utility model and patent applications.

IMPORTANT: Action taken by the parties concerned during the epidemic emergency or the state of the epidemic shall remain valid.

All hearings before dispute adjudicating panels of the Patent office of the Republic of Poland scheduled from 16 March 2020, will not be held until further notice. The Patent Office of the Republic of Poland will keep the public informed about further developments. It was also recommended to make filings of industrial property applications and to exchange correspondence in an electronic form.

2. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE EUROPEAN UNION INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE (EUIPO)

By way of a decision of EUIPO Executive Director of 16 March 2020, in connection with the pandemic, EUIPO decided to extend until 1 May 2020 and in practice until 4 May 2020 (1 May 2020 is a public holiday) all time periods that affect all parties in proceedings before EUIPO and that expire in the period from:

9 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 inclusive

EU trade mark and design applications will continue to be accepted, processed and published, and EUIPO will continue to send communications and set deadlines. Bulletins will continue to be published in the usual way.

3. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANISATION (WIPO)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has declared that it shall continue its activities including on the basis of:

  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT);
  • Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks;
  • The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs;
  • The Lisbon System for the International Registration of Geographical Indications.

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre (AMC) also continues important works on the resolution of domain name disputes in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and other alternative dispute resolution methods.

4. SUMMARY

Due to the dynamic situation, we expect that further provisions affecting the protection of intellectual property rights may be introduced or changes may be made to those already in force. Therefore it is important to monitor the current legal situation and take actions on the basis of the current regulations. 

We invite you to directly contact the DWF Poland lawyers in order to obtain an opinion on a specific case, recommendation or legal advice.

*Please note that this study is for illustrative and informative purposes and therefore should not be construed as advice, an opinion or legal recommendation. Due to the complexity and uniqueness of each of the facts of a given case, the provision of legal advice, an opinion or recommendation for a particular case requires a detailed analysis of its specific circumstances. This also applies to the validity of the presented information, which due to the rapid legislative process and dynamic pandemic situation may undergo unexpected changes, therefore, before taking any action, we recommend prior verification of the law in force at a given time - in this respect please feel free to contact us.

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