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A trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods or services of one entrepreneur from the goods or services of other entrepreneurs. Trademarks can be a word, a picture, a letter, a number, a color, a spatial form, including the shape of a good or packaging or a sound. If you have invented an original trademark and would like to avoid using it by other entrepreneurs, you should register it to the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland.
The application may be submitted by a person or a company in the Patent Office in paper form or online. How the trademark is represented in the application depends on the type of trademark. For example, if the trademark is an inscription or drawing, it should be included in the application as such. In the event that the trade mark consists of several separate parts intended for joint use (e.g. a label and a back label), these parts should be presented next to each other in a way that corresponds to their actual location on the goods. If the trademark is a spatial form, it should be presented in the form of a drawing or photograph showing its appearance. If a trademark isn’t suitable for direct graphic representation, it is best to express it indirectly through a graphic notation that allows for its reproduction, e.g. in the case of a melody, it may be notes. Colored trademarks are presented with a list of the colors used, in accordance with the classification introduced by the Vienna Agreement, with their detailed parameters and indicated color palette with information of which elements of the mark apply to these colors. The fee is 450 PLN for a paper application or 400 PLN for online application. A registered trademark is protected in the scope of specific classes of goods or services indicated in the application. The basic application fee applies only to one class and additional fee of 120 PLN is charged for each next one class of goods or services.
It is worth mentioning that there are many grounds for refusal to grant protection for a trademark. First of all, it is necessary to check whether an identical or similar mark hasn’t already been registered or previously applied for registration by another person. This can be checked in the TMview database which contains national and international trademarks. If your trademark is similar to an already registered trademark, there is a high risk of registration being refused. The Patent Office also refuses to protect a trademark that can’t be distinguished in the course of trade of the goods for which it has been submitted or consists solely of elements that may be used in trade to indicate, in particular, the type of goods, its origin, quality, quantity, value, intended use, method of manufacture, composition, function or suitability. Moreover, a trade mark may not consist solely of elements which have become part of everyday language or are customarily used in well-established commercial practices. Unfortunately, it can’t consist only of the shape or other properties of the goods, resulting from the nature of the goods themselves, necessary to obtain a technical effect or significantly increasing the value of the goods. It shouldn’t contain elements that are religious, patriotic or cultural symbols, if their use would offend religious, patriotic or national traditions. Trademarks may not contain state symbols, such as the coat of arms, flag, colors or the anthem of Poland or a foreign country. The mark applied for may not contain marks of the armed forces, military badges or designations contrary to public order or morality. Most importantly, the trademark must not mislead the public, in particular as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods. A trade mark containing a geographical element that is not consistent with the real origin of the product is considered to be a misleading mark. These are just a few examples from the long list of reasons why the Patent Office may refuse registration.
If the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland decides that there are no obstacles to granting protection to a trademark, the trademark will be published in the Patent Office Bulletin, which is available on the office's website. Pursuant to the legal regulations, there is a 3-month period for opposition by third parties, counting from the date of publication of the trademark. If no opposition is received during this period, the Office may issue a decision granting protection to the trademark. If the application is properly filled in and there are no objections, the decision is issued statistically in 7 months. The trademark protection runs from the date of filing the application and lasts 10 years. It is possible to extend the protection of the trademark for subsequent periods.