Reference ID: 06WARSAW563
Created: 2006-03-27 13:07
Released: 2011-08-30 01:44
Origin: Embassy Warsaw
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS WARSAW 000563
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.
STATE FOR EUR/NCE/MSESSUMS
STATE PASS USTR FOR DONNELLY/ERRION
COMMERCE FOR 4232/ITA/MAC/EUR/OECA/MROGERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD, KIPR, PL, Economy
SUBJECT: POLAND: Counterfeiting Poses Problem for U.S. Firm
LEVIS KNOCKOFFS AND SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
1. (U) In order to clarify issues related to Levi's Special
301 submission, Econoff met with Zbigniew Trendak, Brand
Protection and Security Manager for Levi Strauss. Trendak
reiterated the charges made in Levi's Special 301 brief,
noting that prosecution of counterfeit cases has dropped 28
percent since the Polish Supreme Court ruling of May 2005.
According to Levis representatives, this ruling concerned a
case dealing with counterfeit coffee.
2. (U) The ruling of the Supreme Court centered on the
Article 305 Section 1 of the Polish Industrial Property Law
of 30 June 2000. At issue is whether the term "putting into
circulation" would cover those selling counterfeit products,
or only those who manufacture or import them. According to
Levis attorneys, the Court endorsed a narrow interpretation
of law, limiting prosecution to manufacturers and importers
only. Trendak said that most of the counterfeit jeans being
sold in Poland come from Turkey and China, making
prosecution here of manufacturers a nonstarter. He also
said that the ruling has resulted in a "cascade effect,"
with District Courts and prosecutors declining to follow up
on cases brought by the industry involving simple sales and
distribution of counterfeit goods.
3. (SBU) According to correspondence between Levis and
Procter and Gamble in Moscow in October last year, affected
companies (NOTE: Trendak noted NIKE and Phillip Morris
having similar problems) believe that the Supreme Court
ruling conflicts with EU law. At this time, however, no
firm action has apparently taken place to address the issue
4. (SBU) Unaffected by this ruling - so far - are optical
disc (OD) manufacturers. Sources at the Union of Audio
Video Manufacturers (ZPAV) told Econoff that they believe
the ruling is narrower than Levis attorneys indicate, but
that in any event strengthened copyright legislation and
enforcement measures give OD manufacturers greater
protection than trademarks. We have discussed this issue
with our LEGATT colleagues here at the Embassy as well, and
will follow up with contacts at the Ministry of Justice to
gain a more fulsome understanding of the nature and scope of
the May 2005 ruling.