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Cablegate: Poland Seeks to Be European Ipr Leader

VZCZCXRO1587
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHWR #0165/01 0381015
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071015Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5899
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 1982
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 000165

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR WMOORE
COMMERCE FOR 4232/ITA/MAC/EUR/OECA/MROGERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ITRD KIPR PL
SUBJECT: POLAND SEEKS TO BE EUROPEAN IPR LEADER

REF: 07 WARSAW 407

WARSAW 00000165 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: Poland's Minister of Culture has ambitious
plans to introduce cutting edge EU-wide legislation regarding
intellectual property rights (IPR) during Poland's EU
presidency in 2011. The first step is an update to Polish
legislation, at the end of 2008. At the same time, a
consensus supporting creation of specialized IPR courts seems
to have formed within the Polish government, although many
details remain to be worked out. One already-enacted change
to Polish law closed a loophole that blocked prosecution of
downstream sellers of pirated goods. Also, contacts report
that the last Polish government's anti-corruption drive had
positive effects in the Polish border guards, and that the
technical competence of Polish police to handle IPR cases is
on the rise. End summary.

-------------------------------------
Minister of Culture's Ambitious Plans
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On January 30, Poland's Minister of Culture and
National Heritage outlined for a Polish inter-agency group
ambitious plans to lead Europe in increasing IPR protections.
Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski asked government agencies and
stakeholders from the private sector to give the Ministry of
Culture -- which has the lead on IRP issues within the Polish
government -- proposals for needed legislative changes by
April. He said that passing a new IPR bill will be a
priority for him during the second half of 2008. Looking
forward, in 2011 Zdrojewski wants to hold an international
conference on IPR to showcase "modern solutions" for
protecting IPR. These efforts would culminate during
Poland's EU presidency, in the second half of 2011, with a
Polish push for new EU-wide legislation.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Amendment to Industrial Property Law Having Effect
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (SBU) One very important change to Polish legislation
has already been made. In May 2005, the Polish Supreme Court
ruled that the criminal penalties provided in Articles 305
and 306 of the Industrial Property Law could only be applied
to the first importer/producer of counterfeit goods (see
ref). Treating the decision as a "get out of jail free"
card, some vendors went so far as to post copies of the
decision on stands selling pirated goods. In August 2007, an
amendment that reworded Articles 305 and 306 entered into
effect, closing the loophole. Michal Siciarek, chairman of
the AmCham's IPR Committee, told EconOff that, as a result,
the number of infringement prosecutions has picked up.

----------------------
Specialized IPR Courts
----------------------

4. (SBU) Another reform idea already moving forward is the
creation of specialized courts to handle IPR cases. An
initial draft of legislation to create such courts has been
prepared by the Ministry of Justice, and circulated for
comment among judges. At the moment the proposal is bogged
down because of an argument about how broad the jurisdiction
of the specialized courts should be. According to contacts
at the Ministry of Justice and in the local patent bar, the
Ministry of Justice would like to limit the court's
competence to patents and trademarks, while the Patent Office
and Ministry of Culture are pushing to also include
copyrights, which would substantially increase the court's
anticipated workload. At the interagency meeting, the
Minister of Culture committed to speak personally with the
Minister of Justice, to get the legislation moving.

5. (SBU) The noteworthy point is that the discussion is no
longer about whether to create a specialized court at all.
The regular courts remain congested. Mariusz Kaczmarek,
Director General of FOTA, a group representing film and
audiovisual rightsholders, and Jan Baldyga, the anti-piracy
coordinator for ZPAV, a group representing the recording
industry, told EconOff that in major cities such as Warsaw a
case may take three or four years to conclude. Counsel for
the Business Software Alliance (BSA) stated that they rarely
file civil cases, as the criminal process more quickly leads
to closing down a vendor selling pirated goods.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Improvements in the Local Police And Border Guards

WARSAW 00000165 002.2 OF 002


--------------------------------------------- -----

6. (SBU) Adam Koniuszewski, Director of Corporate Affairs
in Poland for Philip Morris, told EconOff that the attitude
toward IPR protection in the government is "completely
changed." He noted that a few years ago border guards would
auction off smuggled cigarettes that had been seized, but
that sort of thing no longer occurs. The former PiS-led
government's drive to root out corruption had a substantial
effect, with a number of border guards being dismissed. He
believes the border guards are now somewhat understaffed, but
those who remain are a distinct improvement. Although he
said motivation to protect IPR is still sometimes lacking
among some officials, things are moving "in the right
direction," albeit more slowly than might be wished.

7. (SBU) Similarly, ZPAV's Baldyga and FOTA's Kaczmarek
stated that the skills of local police teams dealing with
internet piracy are increasing. Contributing to this is a
special manual that ZPAV and FOTA helped to draft, which has
been posted on the website of the police school, is available
to police in the field via the internet, and also has been
distributed among prosecutors.
HILLAS

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