New examination procedure for industrial designs to be introduced

Bulgaria

On April 28 2010 Bulgaria’s National Assembly adopted the Draft Law Amending the Law on Industrial Designs. The draft law was published in the Official Gazette on May 11 2010 and is expected to enter into force three months after publication (ie, on August 12 2010).

The draft law abolishes the practice of substantive examination, which was carried out ex officio by the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO), and introduces a new examination and registration procedure. Under the new procedure, the BPO will assess whether:

  • the application meets the relevant formal requirements;
  • the object of the application is genuinely a 'design' under the law; and
  • the application contradicts public rules.

If the application complies with the relevant requirements, the design will be registered and advertised in the Official Gazette of the BPO.

Another amendment concerns the State Register of Industrial Designs, which is maintained by the BPO. The BPO must now keep all files not only in paper form, but also in electronic form. The information will be published on the official website of the BPO and will be available to everyone.

Another novelty concerns the payment of the application, examination and registration fees, which are €25 (approximately $31), €40 (approximately $49) and €102 (approximately $125), respectively. If an applicant does not pay the fees within one month of the date of receipt of the notification, it will have to pay double the amount.

Another important novelty is the possibility for an applicant to postpone the publication of a registered design for a period of 30 months from the filing date of the application. An applicant may seek to postpone the publication of a design in order to examine the market and the competition, while keeping its design secret.

The new law will be in full compliance with the relevant EU regulations.

Milena Bogoslovova, PETOŠEVIC, Sofia

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