Effective negotiations as an increasingly common means of dispute resolution – from the Polish perspective

[Author: Nina Jankowska, Trademark and Design Attorney]

Agreements concerning industrial property rights are more and more frequently found on our desks. In recent years, we have noticed a popularization of ways of amicable dispute resolution in trademark conflicts.

Approximately 13,000 trademarks are filed each year in Poland and the number of active rights at the end of 2020 was 155,000. The number of applications accepted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (abbreviated as EUIPO) is even higher and increases year by year. In 2020, it was 177,000 applications, and in 2021 it will already be 197,000. This gives more than 2 million trademarks listed by the EUIPO.

It will certainly not come as a surprise that the increasing number of applications leads to an increasing number of disputes. After all, the more applications there are, the easier it is to spot similar trademarks.

What the statistics say

 The EUIPO receives an average of 1,500 oppositions to trademark applications per month, which amounts to approximately 18,000 oppositions per year. Statistics show that as many as 12,000 disputes are settled without a decision on the merits by the office, which means that up to 66% of disputes are settled by agreement between the parties.

The Polish Patent Office declared that 660 trademark oppositions were filed in 2020. This is 10% more than last year. Unfortunately, the Polish office does not publish statistics on how disputes are resolved, but my conversations with colleagues indicate that between 40-65% of cases end with an agreement. In my cases, the estimate is even higher and amounts to 70% of cases. I have included 27 opposition cases from recent years in this calculation.

On the basis of these estimates, it is possible to draw a conclusion about the increasing use of industrial property rights agreements and trademark coexistence agreements.

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