AIPPI Poland president Bartosz Krakowiak explains the recent judicial personnel change at the IP court in Warsaw and AIPPI Poland’s position.

Poland launched its long-awaited IP court system on 1 July 2020. The system was part of the Code of Civil Procedure reforms, including new procedures for IP-related disputes, aimed at aligning the Polish legal system with the EU Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC). Various business organisations and professional associations, including the Polish National Group of AIPPI (AIPPI Poland), supported the reforms.

The reforms introduced special IP divisions at five district courts of first instance (Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk, Lublin and Katowice) and appeal divisions at two courts of second instance (Warsaw and Poznań). The IP court in Warsaw was entrusted with exclusive jurisdiction over technical IP matters, in particular those related to patents, utility models, computer programs and technical know-how.

An inexplicable judicial move

The IP division of the district court of Warsaw was created on the basis of the previous EU trade marks and community designs division of the district court of Warsaw (EU IP court), which was the only specialised IP court in Poland before 1 July 2020. The presiding judge of the EU IP court was one of the most experienced IP judges in Poland and it was natural for that judge to be re-appointed to the reformed IP division of the district court of Warsaw.

In June 2021, it was revealed that the judge had been unexpectedly moved to a non-IP division of the district court of Warsaw. This caused some concern among IP practitioners in Poland and triggered reactions such as open letters and public statements.

AIPPI Poland’s reaction

As one of the leading associations that supported the reform, AIPPI Poland decided to take a stand by publishing its position paper on 22 June 2021. In the paper, AIPPI Poland emphasized that such unexpected personnel change contradicts the main ideas behind the creation of the specialised IP court system.

The judicial position in this specialised court requires relevant experience, additional education and personal commitment. Therefore, any change in the IP courts, especially at the very beginning of their operation, must be carefully considered so that it does not undermine the purpose of the system and personal effort.

AIPPI Poland expressed this concern, adding that the change may adversely affect the entire reform and discourage judges from specialising in IP. Such instability is a disturbing signal not only for judges but also for IP practitioners and business operators. The innovative economy needs an effective, efficient and predictable judicial system for the resolution of IP-related disputes. This requires experienced and knowledgeable judges representing a broad spectrum of legal views.

AIPPI Poland hopes that its substantive and balanced position will be taken into account by the Polish decision-makers. Read AIPPI’s position paper here (in Polish).