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    Poland’s Minister Of Culture Calls For Intellectu​al Property Courts

    Published on 14 June 2013 @ 2:23 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski has called on the country’s Ministry of Justice to create and integrate intellectual property courts into the country’s legal system. Under the plan, the new entities would become departments of regular courts, and they would be solely responsible for handling cases involving intellectual property, including disputes related to authors’ rights, trademarks and patents.

    “Such a solution would provide authors and inventors with legal security for their inventions or works, and it would also facilitate harmonising the jurisdiction on intellectual property at the national level,” Zdrojewski said in a letter [in Polish] addressed to Polish Minister of Justice Marek Biernacki.

    Should the proposal be implemented, the departments would be staffed with judges specialised in issues related to intellectual property. This, in turn, would allow to merge jurisdiction on these cases which is currently fragmented between various Polish institutions.

    Presently, as pointed out in an analysis by local legal news site portalprocesowy.pl [in Polish], different institutions are involved in legal procedures involving various kinds of legal procedures related to intellectual property in Poland. For instance, Polish civil and criminal courts make rulings on violations of intellectual property and the principle of fair competition. As to trademarks, patents, industrial designs and protected geographical indications, they are registered by the Polish Patent Office (UPRP). The office also decides on annulling or extinguishing these rights, but appeals are reviewed by the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) and the Regional Administrative Courts (WSA). This makes the Polish intellectual property regime a rather complex structure, some observers say.

    Safeguarding Innovation

    Emphasising the need for safeguarding intellectual property, the minister also said [in Polish] that the existence of such courts has “a substantial importance for innovation in modern economies.” To further justify the necessity of establishing the new court departments, he said that to date they have been set up by some 54 countries, including a number of European Union member states. Poland has been a member of the EU since 2004.

    In early 2013, Zdrojewski put forward the same proposal to then-Minister of Justice Jarosław Gowin who was dismissed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk in late April. Since then, the Ministry of Justice has informed local media that the implementation of the reform would need to be preceded by a thorough analysis of statistical data on intellectual property-related cases handled by Polish courts, workforce capacity of said courts, costs of implementing the reform, as well as other factors. Within the structure of the Ministry of Justice, works on assessing the proposal have been performed by the Department of Civil Law, but they have not been finalised yet.

    Government Support

    In addition to Zdrojewski’s ministry, a number of other Polish ministries and government institutions have endorsed the proposal to streamline the system of handling intellectual property cases. These include the Ministry of Economy and the Polish Patent Office (UPRP), as reported by local news agency PAP [in Polish].

    Similar initiatives have been formulated in the past in the course of inter-governmental discussions. In 2012, a proposal to set up intellectual property courts within the structures of a selected number of courts across the country was proposed following a meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister which gathered Poland’s Minister of Administration and Digitisation Michał Boni, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Justice and the Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys (PIRP).

    Momentum for Reforms

    The proposal to establish intellectual property courts within Poland’s legal system was also on the agenda of the second Authors’ Rights Forum (FPA) which took place on 6 June in Warsaw. Created by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the FPA was designed as a forum for artists, decision-makers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. According to Zdrojewski, the forum has already produced momentum for further strengthening Poland’s IP regime. The first forum was held in March 2013.

    “It is optimistic that we finally have joint proposals. One of them is the intellectual property court,” Zdrojewski told PAP [in Polish]. The minister’s statement means that the idea to create such courts is not only endorsed by the government, but is also driven by the country’s copyright industry.

    “It is important to have courts which are specialised in these kinds of cases in Poland,” the minister said. “Cases concerning intellectual property, protection of authors’ rights are currently carried out through particularly arduous, lengthy and burdensome trials which very often produce conflicting judgments, issued in various parts of Poland.”

    Intellectual Property Cases on the Rise

    Meanwhile, the number of intellectual property cases in courts continues to increase. According to data obtained by daily newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna [in Polish], between 2008 and 2011, the number of cases related to intellectual property and handled by Polish courts rose from 154 to 206.

    Under the current system, two major Polish legal acts are relevant for the protection of intellectual property in Poland. For artistic works, it is the law on authors’ rights [in Polish] from February 4, 1994, while industrial inventions, trademarks and their creators are protected by the industrial property law [in Polish] from 30 June 2000.

    Addressing potential criticism of the idea, which could be based on the perspective that the courts could restrict access to knowledge by increasing its protection, the minister said that the proposal aims to benefit those who are interested in accessing knowledge as well.

    “Legal uncertainty creates losses for consumers which are deprived of a legal offer and the security in using it,” Zdrojewski said.

    As work on the proposal continues, a sufficient balance between copyright protection and ensuring adequate access to knowledge by citizens will need to be determined by the Polish government in its reform proposal, some observers say.

     

    Jaroslaw Adamowski may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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