KG LEGAL \ INFO
BLOG

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

More

Non-fungible token (NFT) – legal aspects and application in the art trade

What is NTF?

NFT is a blockchain technology gradually entering our lives, more increasingly related to contemporary state-of-the-art artwork that can be purchased at international art auctions. Non-fungible token (NFT) is a key part of the blockchain economy. This is a type of cryptographic token that is stored on a blockchain architecture. It is a unique, digital certificate that provides certain ownership rights in an asset and it is not possible to copy it. Each of the tokens is individual, of different value and has no equivalent for itself. The most common standard for creating and issuing tokens is ERC-20, but there are other standards in operation (e.g., ERC-223, ERC-721, ERC-777, and ERC-1155). Each successive standard is created with increased security and speed in mind. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.

Blockchain is a decentralized database used to store and transmit information about transactions made on the Internet. One of the features of NFTs is that it can only be bought, sold and traded as individual assets and this is one of their differentiators in the market.

The Cryptocurrency market is growing at an accelerated rate and NFT trading is definitely following it. NFTs differ from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or DDKoin in that they are both not interchangeable and not identical. In addition, owning a given token does not entitle us to the rights reflected by the token. NFTs can’t be divided into parts as the elementary unit here is the token itself, whereas fungible tokens can be because all the units have the same value. It does not matter which unit you get.

How to mint NFT?

Creating and saving NFT for the first time on a block chain involves minting. This is how the digital art becomes a part of Ethereum blockchain. Thanks to this process artists can purchase, trade and track in the market the art works.  Minters may be the creator of the work associated with the NFT, such as the artist. It can also be someone who has the appropriate rights to mint NFT digital assets. NFT contains unique identifier (called also ‘TokenID’), the blockchain wallet address of current owner and an identifier of where the digital work may be found. Transactions are fully transparent, so anyone can view an NFT and its underlying information, including the blockchain address of the current owner and the blockchain address of any previous owner. In addition, since transactions on a blockchain are publicly viewable, buyers can see the address from which the NFT was first minted.

NFT and cats?

Early forms of NFTs have been around since the mid-2010s. The NFT technology gained popularity in 2017 with the virtual cat-trading game called CryptoKitties. Namely, this is a game on Ethereum developed by Canadian studio Dapper Labs  which allows players to adopt and trade virtual cats. Each cat is one-of-a-kind and 100% owned by the owner and it cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed. Then NFT gained momentum. Many people have used the game as a way to earn big amounts of money quick. According to the TechCrunch website research from 2017, about $1.3M has been transacted, with multiple kittens selling for ~50 ETH (around $23,000) and the “genesis” kitten being sold for a record ~246 ETH (around $113,000).

The first 5000 days

More

Polish competition law and legal control on the Polish market of concentration of enterprises in Poland, including TECH companies, by way of merger, acquisition of control, acquisition of an organized part of property and creation of a new entrepreneur

Control of concentration of entrepreneurs is a legal term for: merger, acquisition of control, acquisition of an organized part of property and creation of a new entrepreneur. Its task is to prevent excessive consolidation, which, if left uncontrolled, could lead to a significant restriction of competition on the market by acquiring or strengthening a dominant position.

The control of concentration of entrepreneurs, performed mainly by the President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, covers transactions that have or could have had a significant impact on the market in Poland. The task of the President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is, inter alia, issuing consents to carry out a specific concentration in order to prevent any restriction of competition on the market. The President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may also issue a decision prohibiting merger. However, it is worth noting that concentration can be allowed under certain conditions. An example of this is the resale of part of the property. The Polish Act on competition and consumer protection of February 16, 2007 also allows for the approval of a merger leading to a restriction of competition, in certain very strictly defined situations. It refers to such events as a result of which there will be economic development; technical progress or simply they will have a positive impact on the national economy.

In accordance with the above-mentioned Act, there may be cases in which there will be no need to notify the intent of the concentration to the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, because this action will have little impact on the market. It should also include cases where the turnover of the enterprise which is the object of the takeover on the territory of Poland in none of the two financial years preceding the notification was equal to or greater than the amount of EUR 10 million. If the entities belong to the same capital group, there is also no need to notify the concentration to the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

If the concentration has been carried out, without prior consent from the Polish President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the President may take specific steps aimed at restoring the state of effective competition. This effect can be achieved by ordering the division of the entrepreneur / enterprises or ordering the resale of a part of the shares. The President of the Office may also impose a financial penalty of up to 10% of last year’s revenue of the said enterprise, to entities that took part in an unauthorized concentration.

What is concentration control about?

More

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:

More

New Innovative Polish Platform for handling investment projects launched by the Polish Ministry of Health (abbreviated POPI for short)

Purpose of existence

The main task of the Polish Platform for Handling Investment Projects (POPI) is fast and accurate implementation of broadly understood investment projects, which is (as the Polish Ministry of Health maintains) one of the most important activities of the Ministry of Health. In order to bypass many entities that would be involved in the implementation of a given investment, the Ministry of Health brought to life the POPI platform, which automated the above-mentioned process and thus facilitated navigation in the area of investment projects and increased the number of investment projects implemented in the area of health. The platform for servicing investment projects of the Polish Ministry of Health is a place bringing together entities that are directly involved in the process of launching investment projects. As part of this platform, entities can apply for funds for any investment co-financed by the Ministry of Health. Additionally, the POPI platform can function as a place where applications are assessed, and the given investments are monitored and settled. It should also be remembered that mutual contact regarding the implementation of specific investments is also part of POPI.

The Investment Project Support Platform (POPI) is available at the following address:

e-inwestycje.mz.gov.pl

It is also important that in order to fully use the POPI platform, it is required to set up an account through a certified profile, and to submit the application with the use of a qualified electronic signature.

What can POPI enable?

More

UP