New legislation raises concerns for Poland’s IP courts

New legislation raises concerns for Poland's IP courts

On April 24, 2022, a new bill amending the Common Courts Act was introduced. The law proposes a number of structural modifications to Poland’s judicial system, including one involving IP courts. Some of these recommendations, however, have raised concerns among IP practitioners.

Current court departments would be converted to chambers under one of the plans, with designated rooms for civil, criminal, and family law proceedings in each court. Furthermore, each court would be permitted to establish a commercial chamber where IP cases would be addressed. There are concerns that the proposal’s phrasing could be interpreted to mean that specialized IP courts, which were established almost two years ago, would be abolished.

Current court departments would be converted to chambers under one of the plans, with designated rooms for civil, criminal, and family law proceedings in each court. Furthermore, each court would be permitted to establish a commercial chamber where IP cases would be addressed. There are concerns that the proposal’s phrasing could be interpreted to mean that specialized IP courts, which were established almost two years ago, would be abolished.

The bill’s content is inconsistent. Another proposal states that the minister of justice may delegate IP disputes to a different court, particularly those involving EU trademarks and community designs. Even if other sections imply differently, this phrase suggests that a court dedicated to IP problems will exist.

In Poland, there are currently five IP courts: Gdansk, Pozna, Lublin, Katowice, and Warsaw. More than 2,500 lawsuits were filed in the specialized courts during the first year of IP courts in Poland, as reported almost a year ago.

IP cases would be able to be assigned from one court to another under the proposed concept. This could be understood as implying that only one court will be dedicated to IP matters. A move like this could lead to a situation where this one court is overburdened with cases, affecting the length and efficiency of the procedures. This idea is even more odd given the purpose of the measure in question, which cites boosting court efficiency and balancing judge caseloads among its goals.

Each year, the number of IP lawsuits increases. In the near future, the development of the digital economy is expected to cause even more issues in that field. Poland’s current five specialized IP courts appear to be properly responding to these concerns.

In Poland, it is hoped that the specialized IP courts would be upheld. They ensure that cases are heard by someone who has sufficient substantive knowledge of IP issues, as well as improve the quality and adequacy of court judgments. As a result, they maintain the integrity and consistency of jurisprudence, as well as the efficiency of procedures, in the long run.

The List of Poland IP Firms can be found here.

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