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Zivko Mijatovic & Partners
Sofia, Bulgaria (BG)

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Bulgaria (BG)

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Dez 05, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 21/17)
Civil Procedure Code Amended
Major amendments to the Bulgarian Civil Procedure Code entered into force in November 2017, including changes to the order for payment procedure, the procedure for notifying individuals of court actions, court fees and civil enforcement regulations. There are also two main changes directly related to IP.

First, it is now explicitly specified that enforcement officials can seize or sell judgement debtors' industrial property rights in order to enforce the rights of judgement creditors. While enforcement officials could previously sell debtors' properties, such as real estate and vehicles, or freeze their bank accounts, the Civil Procedure Code now also explicitly provides for the sale and seizure of debtors' rights over trademarks, patents, utility models, industrial designs, topologies of integrated circuits, plant varieties and animal species as a way to ensure that a creditor receives what they are entitled to. Copyright and related rights are not included in the scope of the provision. This enforcement procedure can be carried out by both state and private enforcement agents and must be entered in the Bulgarian PTO's register.

Second, the traditionally narrow scope of cassation grounds has now been widened. Previously, subject to cassation at the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation were appellate court decisions that were:
- Contradicting the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation case law;
- Addressing an issue previously resolved by a civil court in a contradictory manner; and
- Addressing an issue which is important with respect to the accurate application of legal norms or to the development of the law itself.

From now on, appellate court decisions contradicting the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and of the Bulgarian Constitutional Court are also subject to cassation.

Source: www.petosevic.com


Sep 20, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 16/17)
New Ordinance on IP Representatives Adopted
On August 4, 2017, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted a new Ordinance on Industrial Property Representatives, regulating the requirements for representatives in the field of industrial property.

The Ordinance entered into force on September 8, 2017 and introduces the possibility for industrial property representatives to exercise their profession in partnerships. All individuals wishing to become representatives will be required to pass a qualifying exam. A register of approved representatives will be made available on the Bulgarian Patent Office’s website.

The new Ordinance aligns Bulgarian legislation concerning IP representatives with Directive 2006/123/EC and Directive 2005/36/EC.

Source: www.petosevic.com


Jun 14, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 11/17)
Draft Ordinance on IP Representatives Published
The Bulgarian Patent Office has released for public consultation a draft Ordinance on Industrial Property Representatives to be adopted by the Council of Ministers.

If adopted, the draft Ordinance would regulate the profession of IP representatives. It specifies the requirements for obtaining the necessary qualifications and for providing such services. Most notably, the Ordinance would make it possible for foreign IP representatives to exercise the profession in Bulgaria in compliance with the requirements of EU Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market, and would also introduce mandatory professional insurance. The Ordinance would also recognize partnerships of IP representatives for the first time in Bulgarian legislation.

The draft Ordinance got criticized by AIPPI Bulgaria as it goes beyond the scope of what the Law on Patents and Industrial Designs has defined. Further, the Ordinance contradicts with the Law on Recognition of Professional Qualifications. AIPPI Bulgaria insists on the withdrawal of the draft and the resumption of an open discussion among stakeholders.

Source: www.petosevic.com


Nov 18, 2013 (Newsletter Issue 16/13)
E-Filing Soon
The Bulgarian PTO introduced an online tool for electronic filing of trademark applications on November 15, 2013. The users are able to submit applications through Bulgarian PTO’s website.

The tool was developed as a result of cooperation between the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the Bulgarian PTO.
Online tools for electronic renewal, electronic filing of oppositions and requests for revocation and invalidity are expected to follow soon.

Source: Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and PETOŠEVIĆ


Apr 02, 2013 (Newsletter Issue 4/13)
PTO to Abolish ‘Class Heading Covers All’ Approach
As of March 1, 2013, the Bulgarian PTO has changed its approach when interpreting the scope of protection when class headings are used in lists of goods and services in trademark applications and registrations.

National trademarks are not registered under the “class heading covers all” approach but under the “means what it says” approach, meaning that the national trademark applicants listing class headings has to clearly indicate whether they are seeking protection for all goods or services that fall within a particular class or only for the specific goods or services mentioned in the class heading.

The change follows the Court of Justice of the European Union’s June 19, 2012 decision in the IP Translator ‘class headings’ case (C-307/10 – Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys v Registrar of Trade Marks), after which all national PTOs in the EU and OHIM agreed to unify the approach.

Currently 17 out of 26 PTOs in the EU use the “means what it says” approach, while the other nine PTOs, including the Bulgarian PTO, use the “class heading covers all” approach where the class heading provides protection for all goods or services included in the alphabetical list of the class.

The differences in the interpretive approaches have led to legal uncertainty and lack of predictability in cases of claiming priority and seniority and in revocation, cancellation, examination and opposition proceedings.

The Bulgarian PTO has introduced the following basic rules:
- If the applicant wishes the scope of trademark protection to cover all goods and services included in the alphabetical list of the particular class, the applicant must explicitly state on the application that “The application refers to all goods/services included in the alphabetical list of this class".
- If the applicant does not explicitly state that the scope of protection covers all goods and services in the alphabetical list of the particular class, the PTO will conclude that the applicant is seeking protection only for the goods or services mentioned in the class heading.
The change in the practice of the Bulgarian PTO does not affect trademark applications and registrations filed or processed prior to March 1, 2013.

Source: PETOŠEVIĆ


Sep 01, 2011 (Newsletter Issue 10/11)
Opposition System Introduced/Official Fees Reduced
The Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria has implemented the regulation on opposition procedure, which entered into force on June 11th, 2011. The new regulation outlines the procedure for drafting, submitting and examining the opposition notices. It applies to trademark applications filed or published after March 10th, 2011.

As the Patent Office does not carry out examinations as to the relative grounds for refusal of trademarks anymore, the official fees for filing and examination of applications for registration of trademarks are reduced. Please view current fees in the country survey (below).

Source: Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria,
Borislav Boyanov & Co., Bulgaria


Feb 21, 2011 (Newsletter Issue 3/11)
Amendments of Trademark Law
Some important amendments to the Bulgarian Law on Marks and Geographical Indications (LMGI) enter into force by March 10th, 2011.

The Bulgaria Patent Office (BPO) performs only formality and absolute grounds examination by March 10th, 2011. Under the new system the search for prior trademarks will be dropped.

Furthermore, the opposition period will change from 2 to 3 months, effective from March 10th, 2011.

For more information please click here

Source: Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Sofia, Bulgaria


Jan 01, 2011 (Newsletter Issue 1/11)
Bulgarian Trademarks Added to TMview
Bulgarian trademarks can be now searched via the free online database TMview provided by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market of the European Union (OHIM). The tool enables trademark search on various official online database registers.

To access TMview please click here


Sep 15, 2010 (Newsletter Issue 14/10)
Opposition Period Will Change
According to the amendments of the Bulgarian Trademark Law the opposition period will change from 2 to 3 months, effective from March 10th, 2011.

Source: www.boyanov.com

Apr 15, 2010 (Newsletter Issue 9/10)
Adoption of Amendments to Trademark Law
On February 26, 2010, Bulgaria’s National Assembly adopted the draft Law amending the Law on Marks and Geographical Indications. The law was published in the Official Gazette on March 9, 2010 and enters into force in June 2010.

The draft law abolishes the previous practice of substantive examination and introduces opposition procedures. Previously, the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) had to examine the mark ex officio on both the absolute and the relative grounds for refusal, regardless whether an opposition has been filed or not.

Under the new system, trademark application will be examined on absolute grounds only and if it meets the requirements, it will be published in the Official Gazette of the BPO. Third parties have three months from the date of publication to file an opposition by submitting a written opposition.

This model corresponds to the examination procedure performed by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) - OHIM, which manages Community Trade Marks and Community Designs within the European Union. The transitional and final provisions state that the rules governing the opposition procedure will enter into force 12 months after the law’s promulgation in the Official Gazette.

Another novelty concerns the State Register of Trademarks and the State Register of Geographical Indications maintained by the BPO. The BPO will from now on maintain all files in paper and electronic form. The electronic form will be published on the official website of the BPO and will be available to everyone. The application for registration of a mark or geographical indication can now be filed electronically.

The new system aims to shorten the process of issuing trademark registration and to achieve full compliance with the relevant EU regulations.


Source: www.petosevic.com

Legal basis is the Law on Marks and Geographical Indications (LMGI) of September 14th, 1999 (in force since December 15th, 1999, last amendments of October 24th, 2017).
Bulgaria is a member of the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol and the European Community.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration on the first-to-file principle.
Nice classification, 11th edition
Registrable as a trademark is a sign which is distinctive and could be graphically represented such as words, including names of persons, letters, numbers, drawings, figures, three-dimensional marks, the shape of the goods or of their packaging, combination of colours, sound signs or any combination of the such signs. Currently, holograms can not be registered as it is considered that their representation is not constant. Holograms will be accepted either as JPEG or MP4 after the transposition of the new Trademark Directive.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application is filed at the Bulgarian Patent Office.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A non-legalised power of attorney is acceptable in case of reciprocity, highly recommended is the special form available at the Patent Office. The power of attorney should contain the name and the title of the person signing it.
Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The registration process includes:
1. A formal examination, 2. Examination on the absolute grounds – for trademarks filed under the national procedure, it will be conducted within three months after the formal examination; for international trademarks – within three months after the publication in the Official Bulletin issued by the Bulgarian Patent Office, 3. Publication of the application for opposition purposes, 3.1. In case an opposition is filed - opposition procedure and issuance of a decision to uphold or reject the opposition, and consequently, to register or refuse the trademark, or 3.2. In case no opposition is filed - registration of the trademark without any further examination on relative grounds.
Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if the applicant can prove that distinctiveness has been acquired by use.
National:
3 months following the publication date of the application in the national Bulletin.

It should be noted that, during the opposition procedure, the applicant may request a proof of use of the earlier mark, on which the opposition is based, if five years have passed from the date of its registration until the date of filing the opposition. In such case, the opponent is given two months for furnishing proof of use. If the opponent fails to provide evidence about the use of the earlier mark, the opposition is to be rejected.

Details regarding the Opposition Period against designation of IR Mark are available in our publication on this topic here
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months from the expiration date of the trademark.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
If the trademark has not been used within 5 years from registration or has not been used for a continuous period of 5 years, it may be subject to cancellation.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official fee for filing a trademark application including examination is BGN 140.00 up to three classes for trademarks and service marks and BGN 300 for collective and certification marks. For each additional class, another BGN 30.00 are due for trademarks and service marks, and BGN 80.00 for collective and certification marks. The publication of the application in the Official Bulletin of the Patent Office costs BGN 40.00. The official fees for registration of a trademark, issuance of a certificate for registration and publication of the registration in the official Bulletin are BGN 390.00.

Practical details on licensing procedures, requirements and effectiveness are available in our publication on this topic here.
Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

Country Survey
Jun 29, 2018
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Sofia, Bulgaria  

Mrz 24, 2016
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Sofia, Bulgaria  

Jul 04, 2013
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Sofia, Bulgaria  

Jan 02, 2012
Patentcorrect Ltd., Sofia, Bulgaria
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Sofia, Bulgaria  

Jun 17, 2010
Borislav Boyanov & Co., Sofia, Bulgaria



Zivko Mijatovic & Partners



Djura Mijatovic


44 Evlogi Georgiev Blvd.
Sofia 1124
Tel: + 359 2 944 14 03
Fax: + 359 2 943 40 45
georgik@zm-p.com
www.zm-p.com

Our law firm was established in 1939 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia as a general practice law firm. It has grown progressively and today, we have ten offices in nine European countries.

Our services are provided through the network of ZMP offices which cover the Balkan Peninsula, Central Eastern Europe as well as the whole EU via our office in Alicante, Spain the home of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).

Over the last thirty years, the primary activity of our office has been the protection, via prosecution and litigation, of all Intellectual Property rights. Nonetheless, our activity still embraces other fields of law and consequently we are at your disposal to provide you with full range of services in the field of Commercial Law and Corporate Law in all the countries of The Balkans.

Our constant presence in eight different neighbouring countries of the Balkans, allows us to provide our clients with immediate and simultaneous service in two to eight different countries of the region, by simply contacting one of our offices. That is why the services we provide are unique in the region.

Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria
52b, Dr. G. M. Dimitrov Blvd.
1040 Sofia
Bulgaria
Tel +359 2 97 01 31 6
Fax +359 2 87 35 25 8
www.bpo.bg

European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
Avenida de Europa, 4
03008 Alicante
Spain
Tel +34 965 139 100
Fax +34 965 131 344
Mail information@euipo.europa.eu
www.euipo.europa.eu


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
34, Chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20
Switzerland
Tel +41 22 33 89 11 1
Fax +41 22 73 35 42 8
www.wipo.int