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New guidelines of the Polish President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection on surreptitious advertising in social media of influencers.

It is unclear whether the instrumental and intentional presentation of products with the help of influencers, i.e. people active on the Internet, is a classic breach of competition law and the ban on standard advertising. An Influencer in the world of social media is an influential person who can influence their audience through their reach. These types of people are sometimes used in marketing campaigns because they can skilfully influence the behaviour of the audience. However, is this type of sponsored content properly labeled and is it likely to mislead consumers? The Polish President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has recently launched an investigation aimed at developing guidelines for people who earn money by promoting products online.

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Risks of foreign investments in Polish technology start-ups

It is currently accepted that only 5% of start-ups in the technology industry are successful. This fact means that, in principle, the investor has as much as a 95% risk of losing money. However, if the investment turns out to work with no failure the investors may gain millions.

The more innovative the subject matter the bigger the risk

A good example of a risky investment is a highly discussed case of Elizabeth Holmes. She is the founder of  biotech start-up, Theranos. The main concept of her business was to create a blood-testing method which promises to detect a range of illnesses with just a prick on the fingertip. She based her business idea on her fear of needles. One device would replace professional laboratory machines. The technology was supposed to revolutionize the healthcare industry. As this idea seemed futuristic and  innovative it is no surprise that it seduced many high-profile investors that invested millions into this business.  Silicon Valley investors have poured more than $200 million into projects in the past years to build a device that analyzes blood – according to ‘Financial Times’. However, in 2015 it emerged the blood-testing devices did not work and Theranos was doing most of its testing on commercially available machines made by other manufacturers. The company shut down three years later. Numerous problems have arisen since then. The invention gave false results, resulted to undetected diseases. As it later turned out, it was not the machine that tested the samples, but a team of people appointed to do so. The machine was only an object of advertising and marketing. Now Ms. Holmes faces 12 fraud charges and she is accused of deceiving investors and patients with defrauding investors through a ‘sophisticated, multi-year fraud’.

The business obtained one of its first financings in 2004 from a well-known investor from Silicon Valley, Tim Draper. Theranos founder began collaboration with former senior U.S. government officials to serve on the board of directors. Among them were: George Shultz (former Secretary of Labor, Treasury, and State of the US government), Gen. James Mattis (US Secretary of Defense), Henry Kissinger (former Secretary of State), William Perry (former Secretary of Defense), Betsy DeVos (US Secretary of Education) and many other successful individuals.

It sounds surprising that highly respectable, influential people did not even ask Holmes for detailed financial analysis and accurate product information. They have lost millions of dollars because of being too superficial in their due diligence.  

Polish tech and software start-up scene

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Christie’s “encrypted” – Christie’s auction house enabling payments in cryptocurrency Ethereum

British auction house Christie’s is where spectacular auctions take place. Transactions that are carried out there are mentioned all over the world. Many Christie’s auctions attract interest due to the fact that they may be controversial, such as sale of an image created by artificial intelligence or the work entitled “Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)” by Pablo Picasso. Recently Christie’s announced that another innovative auction is planned.

Namely its October “Post-War to Present” auction will include the sale of 31 non-fungible tokens that are considered to be some of the oldest on the Ethereum blockchain. A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. This will be the first ever live auction with bidding conducted entirely in Ether. The NFTs that Christie’s is offering in the fall have distinct legacies of their own. They are also estimated to sell for between 250 and 350 ETH, which shakes out to approximately between $870,000 and $1.3 million. These NFTs are Curio Cards that were made in May 2017, so even earlier than CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties.  

Aside from the Curio Cards NFTs, Christie’s will be auctioning NFTs from the Art Blocks curated collection. Modern artists would have possibility to choose their favourite post-war artworks and pay for them in Ethereum. The tokens are representing real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, videos and other seemingly mundane everyday signifiers. Works by renowned artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell and Grace Hartigan will be part of the auction alongside works by Wayne Thiebaud.

The event definitely created a buzz among art enthusiasts.  NFTs are highly valued digital assets which uses blockchain to record the ownership status of the aforementioned items. After the transaction only the buyer of an NFT has the official of being its owner. However anyone can still view the item.

Recently, several large cryptocurrency-based auctions have brought in huge amounts of money in the art world. The upcoming “Post-War to Present” auction is sure to create a buzz among currency enthusiasts. One thing we can be sure of – a digital revolution is coming, and the world of cryptocurrencies will surprise us more than once.

Sources:

Christie’s Is Now Accepting Ether for Ethereum’s Earliest NFTs | Observer

Christie’s to Hold Auction of Some of the Oldest NFT Art — With Live Bids in ETH | Technology News (ndtv.com)

Christie’s na Twitterze: „Friday, 1 October at 9:30AM EDT, Christie’s New York presents Post-War to Present: The NFTs. This will be the first ever live auction with bidding conducted entirely in Ether. Featuring Curio Cards and Art Blocks Curated. https://t.co/Ydpr1zsr5Z https://t.co/zUaoY0pEXT” / Twitter

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Summoning a foreign witness to an online hearing before the Polish civil court – what is the content of the instructions issued by the Polish court to a foreign witness? What is the procedure of remote witness questioning by a Polish court.

More and more often, foreign clients of KIEŁTYKA GŁADKOWSKI KG LEGAL take part in online hearings as a part of civil lawsuits. This also applies to foreign witnesses in commercial proceedings conducted for foreign clients and settled by the Polish civil courts.

The widespread use of remote (online) questioning of witnesses results from a temporary change in the Polish civil procedure, which adapted the practice of conducting court cases in the realities of the pandemic. The proliferation of the practice of questioning witnesses has created the standard practice of summoning foreign witnesses in writing by document, which the Polish court delivers by conventional mail to the witness’ address and summons the witness to participate in the online hearing. The court in such a letter explains in great detail to the witness how and when the witness is to connect to the court online.

Due to the fact that the court informs the foreign witness in great detail about how the foreign witness is to connect online with the Polish court using a computer, KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL presents below the full content of the Polish Court’s summons and instructions.

It may turn out to be very helpful for foreign readers doing business in Poland, because this type of summons is very standard and is used in a very similar way by all Polish common courts.

The summons begins with the designation of the court by which the summons is issued. Full text of the summons together with instructions on the consequences of failure to appear online is presented below:

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Changes in the procedure in the Polish civil and administrative court proceedings under the Acts of May 14, 2020 and May 28, 2021 on the amendment of certain acts in the field of protective measures in connection with the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Changes in the procedure in the Polish civil and administrative court proceedings under the Acts of May 14, 2020 and May 28, 2021 on the amendment of certain acts in the field of protective measures in connection with the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The epidemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has significantly introduced changes in the search for safe solutions for people-to-people contact. These changes also affected the courts and the mode of court hearings, in order to ensure the greatest possible safety for the parties to the proceedings and court employees. In this situation, the best way to limit direct contact was the possibility of using electronic communication methods.

Legal basis

Amendment to the Polish Act of March 2, 2020 on special solutions related to the prevention, counteraction and combating of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and the emergencies caused by them, implemented by two acts of May 14, 2020 and May 28, 2021, allowed for the possibility of holding court hearings in Polish courts with using means of distance communication. The change resulting directly from article 15 zzs1 of the Polish Act of 2 March 2020 allowed for the possibility of participating in a remote hearing from a place other than the court, because until now the Polish Code of Civil Procedure allowed for the possibility of conducting a remote hearing, but the persons participating in it had to be present in the court building. Pursuant to article 15zzs1 point 1 of the Polish Act of 2 March 2020, during the period of the epidemic threat or epidemic state announced due to COVID-19 and within one year of the last of them being recalled in cases examined under the provisions of the Polish Code of Civil Procedure, court hearings or open sessions are held with the use of technical devices enabling them to be carried out at a distance with the simultaneous direct transmission of image and sound, except that the people participating in them do not have to be in the court building, unless holding a hearing or a public hearing without the use of the above devices causes excessive health risk to the participants.[1]

Conducting remote hearings- modes of proceedings

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