Draft amendment to Trademarks and Geographical Indications Law adopted

On February 26 2010 Bulgaria’s National Assembly adopted the Draft Law Amending the Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications. The law was published in the Official Gazette on March 9 2010 and will enter into force in June.

The draft law abolishes substantive examination and introduces an opposition procedure. Previously, the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) had to examine the marks ex officio on both absolute and relative grounds, regardless of whether an opposition had been filed.

Under the new system, a trademark application will be examined on absolute grounds only and, if it meets the requirements for registration, it will be published in the Official Gazette of the BPO. Third parties will have three months from the date of publication to file a written opposition. This model follows the examination procedure at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, which manages Community trademarks and designs. The transitional and final provisions state that the rules governing the opposition procedure will enter into force 12 months after the promulgation of the law in the Official Gazette.

Another novelty concerns the State Register of Trademarks and the State Register of Geographical Indications, which are maintained by the BPO. The BPO will have to keep 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. It will be possible to file applications for registration of a mark or geographical indication electronically.

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

Milena Bogoslovova, PETOŠEVIC, Sofia 

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