Single words: protected as trademarks or copyrights


Monika Wieczorkowska

Under Polish Copyright Law, a work is subject to copyright if it is an expression of creative activity, meaning it is original or has individual character.

On June 22, 2010, the Supreme Court held that single words, neologisms, words deriving from common language and those that are unknown are devoid of creativity.

In this case, the plaintiff filed a motion in a district court to be awarded compensation for a wilful infringement of its copyright to the ‘JOGI’ word trademark. The plaintiff had previously obtained copyrights to a label and a figurative trademark JOGI, designated for yogurt. It had also previously won a copyright case about the mark.

The district court dismissed the case and the plaintiff filed a complaint to the Court of Appeal. The court held that the word JOGI did not fulfil the criteria for being regarded as a work. It also stated that the idea for a word JOGI (which earlier existed in the public domain) to designate drinking yogurt was devoid of creativity or originality.

Words, Polish Copyright Law, JOGI