Hotel industry giant succeeds in revocation action for non-use

Bulgaria

A globally known brand of hotels and resorts has been successful in recent revocation proceedings for non-use before the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO).

On January 16 2014 the BPO revoked two trademark registrations in the name of a Bulgarian hospitality company, which is involved in the construction of a hotel for which it planned to use a name identical to that of the plaintiff.

The BPO stated that the evidence submitted by the Bulgarian company did not provide “legitimate reasons for non-use” of the trademarks.

There is no legal definition of the phrase "legitimate reasons for non-use" in the Bulgarian Law on Marks and Geographical Indications. The phrase can be defined in the sense of Article 19 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which outlines valid reasons for non-use - namely:

circumstances arising independently of the will of the owner of the trademark which constitute an obstacle to the use of the trademark, such as import restrictions on, or other government requirements for, goods or services protected by the trademark.”

The BPO concluded that the evidence submitted by the defendant showed its intent to use the trademarks, but did not prove that the marks had been put to genuine use.

The decision can be appealed to the Administrative Court Sofia City.

Valeri Penev, PETOŠEVIC, Sofia

PETOŠEVIC represented the applicant for revocation in this case. 

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