Law on Industrial Designs to be amended

The deadline for submitting comments on the Draft Amended Law on Industrial Designs expired on March 31 2009. The draft law introduces important amendments to the Law on Industrial Designs, which entered into force on December 15 1999.
First, the register will contain detailed information on registered industrial designs, including:
  • the number and date of the application for registration;
  • a picture representing the design;
  • the date of publication in the Official Gazette;
  • any postponement of publication;
  • the name and address of the owner and its representative;
  • the term of validity of the registration and the date of renewal; and
  • any changes in the abovementioned information.
The Bulgarian Patent Office will now maintain files on all industrial designs in paper and electronic form. The electronic version will be published on the official website of the office and will be available to the public.

Second, the draft law introduces a new registration system for industrial designs. During the examination procedure, the office will have to ensure that applications meet certain formal requirements. Moreover, to speed up the registration procedure, the draft law establishes shorter deadlines for:
  • submitting corrections to applications;
  • replying to preliminary rejections; and 
  • paying fees.
Another novelty is that applicants will have a one-month grace period if they fail to pay the application, examination or registration fees within the prescribed period (one month). However, in that case they will have to pay double the fees.

Finally, the draft law introduces the possibility of postponing the publication of a registered industrial design. According to Articles 48(a) and (b) of the law, an applicant may request that publication be postponed so that its industrial design remains secret while it assesses the market and its competitors.

The draft law, which complies with the relevant EU laws on industrial designs, is expected to enter into force nine months after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Milena Bogoslovova, SD Petosevic, Sofia 

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