changes in law
A new Corporate Liability Act which is currently before the Polish Sejm will put criminal law institutions in a new perspective. Certain instruments that were seen as appropriate only with respect to individuals will have to be redirected to be deployed in the case of corporate entities. Once the new laws take effect, corporate entities will be the focus of attention of law enforcement agencies. The new approach will affect among other things police entrapment operations (controlled handing over of a bribe), at the moment usually used with regard to businesspeople.
A draft Act Amending the Waste Act and Certain Other Acts has been submitted to the Polish parliament. The proposal is designed to totally digitise the Database of Products, Packaging and Waste Management (known as the Waste Database or BDO). The proponents’ aim is also to expand the functionality of BDO so that it is also used by businesses to maintain their current waste records. This would allow the authorities to easily identify the generator and subsequent possessors of wastes.
Tardiness in investigations and court cases is a structural problem in Poland. This was confirmed among other things in a pilot judgment issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of 7 July 2015 in Rutkowski and Others v. Poland. This is also confirmed by Ministry of Justice statistics. In 2018, the number of investigations of a duration of between two and five years was up 583 on 2017. Tardiness can occur in particular in complex criminal cases with a commercial element, and for this reason the problem of tardiness will probably affect corporate liability cases conducted once a law now before parliament takes effect. Based on the current wording, the question arises of who will be able to file a complaint concerning tardiness in cases of this kind, and when.
A bill has been released recently regulating the minimum distance for a planned development project in the agricultural sector if it might generate an odour. The proposal comes in light of an increasing number of complaints and motions about odours given off by animal care and breeding facilities.
An amendment to the Industrial Property Law took effect on 16 March 2019, transposing into Polish law the Trademark Directive (2015/2436). The amendment is not revolutionary but will certainly have huge practical implications.
One of the changes in the amendment of the Industrial Property Law is that there will no longer be a graphical presentation requirement for trademarks. From 16 March 2019, it is possible for trademarks to be presented in any form using generally available technology, provided that they are presented in a clear, precise, independent, understandable, durable, objective, and easily accessible manner.