According to Polish law, the concept of a company’s good name should be defined as a certain reputation, a state of functioning in a given environment, and surroundings. A good name is simply a well-known and reputable brand that reflects the positive qualities of a particular business.
Building a good name in business is not an easy task and often requires a significant amount of time and dedication. Unfortunately, the violation of this asset occurs much more quickly and is quite common. Due to false accusations, an entrepreneur may lose their reputation and may never be able to rebuild it. The Polish legislator, considering various situations, allows companies to assert their rights in cases of unlawful violation of their good name. Of course, everyone has the right to criticize, but it should always be based on true circumstances – then we will not be talking about violating the company’s good name.
According to the judgment of the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw dated September 15, 2021 (file reference V ACa 192/21):
“Criticism exercising freedom of speech cannot resort to providing false information, pointing to improper conduct when the facts do not justify it. The presented assessments should have a sufficient basis in verifiable facts; otherwise, they do not fall within the limits of freedom of speech.”
Protecting the good name of a company in the event of an attempted violation or actual violation primarily involves demanding the cessation of further violations. In practice, the entrepreneur should first prepare a pre-court notice to cease violations and address it to the perpetrator of the unlawful act. The regulations do not require any specific legal form for such a statement – a simple written form is sufficient. The notice should be accompanied by the entrepreneur’s details, the date and place of drafting the document, and the signature of the company’s representative (usually the owner of the business). The notice should be sent to the violator by registered mail (return receipt is not necessary) or delivered in person.
A notice to cease violations of the good name is not a mandatory element that must be present in the protection of a company’s assets. After conducting the appropriate trial, the court will assess whether there has indeed been a violation of the company’s good name in a given case. If so, the entrepreneur may be entitled to compensation as indicated in their lawsuit.
In summary, the good name of a company in Poland is protected on the same basis as the good name of any individual – it is subject to protection under the relevant provisions of the Polish Civil Code. In such a situation, the entrepreneur can demand the cessation of further violations by the perpetrator and the compensation for the damage caused.
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Trademark in Poland