Polish industrial property law set to undergo revolutionary overhaul
The Polish government announced that the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology was working on a new industrial property law to replace the current Polish industrial property law (June 30, 2000). According to the brief note published online, the legislation aims to encourage innovation among domestic entrepreneurs, relax existing procedures and clean up the provisions governing intellectual property (the current legislation has been amended more than 20 times since its inception. adoption). Publicly available information on the legislation suggests that the approach to many aspects of intellectual property rights will undergo a major change. However, the legislation could be subject to further changes and no draft law has been published to date.
With regard to patents, the legislation intends to introduce a prior patent application. However, the information available does not describe what this procedure would look like. It is also planned to incorporate all the provisions relating to patents contained in other acts, which would lead to the repeal of the law on the filing of European patent applications and the effects of the European patent in the Republic of Poland (14 March 2003).
Utility model protection rights
The utility model protection regime is set to be revolutionized. The bill aims to introduce provisions that will speed up the application process by replacing the current examination system with a registration system. Polish Patent Office (PPO) would no longer examine substantive conditions for granting utility model protection ex officio (i.e. novelty and technical nature of a given useful solution) but would only focus on the formal aspects of the application and grant utility model protection rights as soon as the relevant costs and documents would be submitted. Consideration of whether a given solution satisfies the requirements would only take place through another entity submitting an objection at the application stage or a request for the invalidity of a right of protection of a third party. given utility model. Consequently, utility models would be subject to the same rules as industrial designs and trademarks (i.e. they would no longer be subject to a procedure similar to that used for inventions whose patentability is systematically examined by the PMO at the application stage). This amendment aims to reduce the average processing time to obtain utility design protection from 24 months to approximately 12 months.
Procedural changes concerning adversarial proceedings before the PMO
Cases concerning the validity and infringement of intellectual property rights in Poland are not dealt with in the same procedure. Validity requests are examined by the PPO in adversarial proceedings, while intellectual property infringement requests are examined by courts specializing in intellectual property. However, the bill would change the adversarial proceedings before the OPP.
It is envisaged that the OPP will consider these cases behind closed doors without the presence of the parties. This proposal is likely to generate some controversy by limiting the rights of the parties to participate in adversarial proceedings. In addition, the proposed legislation will allow parties to adversarial proceedings to have recourse to alternative dispute resolution methods. The conciliation procedure would be voluntary and at the request of the parties.
New incentive for innovators
To encourage innovation, publicly available information on the new legislation indicates that when filing an application for at least three different intellectual property rights subjects within three months, the application fee for each can be reduced by up to ‘at 30%. This would provide better support for innovators building their intellectual property portfolios.
Next steps and legislative process
According to the announcement, the proposed bill is expected to be ready in the fourth quarter of 2021 and will then have to go through the legislative process. It should enter into force next year at the earliest.