New regulations and amendments – March 2023. Review prepared by TGC Corporate Lawyers.
1. New regulations on the EU unified patent
Regulations on the unitary patent system will come into effect on June 1, 2023, and will apply in the 17 countries that have ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). These are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. Poland is not currently a party to the agreement. However, ratification of the agreement is still possible for other member states.
UPCA establishes the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC will offer a uniform, specialized, and efficient framework for patent litigation at a European level. It will hear both infringement and revocation actions.
Between March 1 and June 1, 2023, there is a transition period known as the “sunrise phase.” European patent owners then have time to decide whether they want to be subject to the jurisdiction of the unitary patent system. In this period it is possible to file applications to exclude European patents from the jurisdiction of the UPC, in order to prevent others from filing a patent invalidation application before the UPC the moment the agreement comes into force. A patent owner who opts for UPC jurisdiction does not have to take any additional action before June 1, 2023. However, if one decides to remain under the jurisdiction of the national patent offices once the UPCA enters into force, it is necessary to file a motion.
It is worth to mention that any European patent in force in at least one UPCA party will begin to fall under the non-exclusive jurisdiction as of the date the agreement enters into force.
2. Parliamentary work on the bond bill
Sejm is currently working on a bill to amend the Bonds Act (Ustawa o obligacjach), the Act on Investment Funds and Management of Alternative Investment Funds (Ustawa o funduszach inwestycyjnych i zarządzaniu alternatywnymi funduszami inwestycyjnymi), and the Act on the Bank Guarantee Fund (Ustawa o Bankowym Funduszu Gwarancyjnym). The new legislation will allow financial institutions to issue capital bonds, which will, in turn, help increase their capital base. The draft provides rules for the issuance of capital instruments, including capital bonds as a new category of bonds. Under new law, capital bonds can be issued by brokerage houses, domestic banks, domestic insurance companies and domestic reinsurance companies. The legislation is scheduled to take effect in October 2023.
3. Sejm passes legislation to reduce plastic waste
The new regulations are primarily aimed at banning single-use plastic products such as cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws and balloon sticks made of plastic. In addition, traders will be required to inform consumers through clear labelling on the packaging of single-use plastic products about their harmful effects on the environment. The new regulations will also make it mandatory to pay a fee for certain disposable packaging, which is to be a maximum of PLN 1.
4. Parliamentary work on mObywatel application bill
In March 2023, Sejm started to work on the mObywatel application. The parliament aims to create a legal basis for the use and recognition of electronic documents on the same basis as traditional documents, particularly the electronic equivalent of an ID card. The law is also expected to popularize the use of electronic student ID cards. The mObywatel application is also to enable trusted profile authentication and payment for services provided by public entities.
5. The President signed another amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure
New legislation amending the Code of Civil Procedure introduces EU regulations on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and those related to parental responsibility and international child abduction. Under the terms of the amendment, the Court of Appeals in Warsaw will be the court of second instance in cases involving the removal of a person subject to parental responsibility or guardianship, conducted under the Hague Convention.
6. Labor Code amendment signed by the President
On March 23, 2023, the President signed a bill amending the Labour Code and certain other laws. This is the largest labour law amendment in years. The act implements two EU directives containing pro-parent and pro-worker provisions. The amendment to the Code provides for, among other things:
The regulations will come into force 21 days after the date of announcement. The amendments to the Labour Code is a huge challenge for employers. From the employee’s perspective, the changes are very advantageous.
Learn more: Labour Code amendment signed by the President
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