Supreme Administrative Court rules on genuine use

Bulgaria

On July 25 2014 the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria issued its decision in an interesting case involving the issue of whether services rendered by the employee of a cleaning company that fell outside the scope of her main duties amounted to genuine use of her employer’s trademark.

The dispute concerned the genuine use of the cleaning company’s trademark VASILKA, registered for office functions services in Class 35 of the Nice Classification. The company brought an appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court seeking to overturn a decision of the Sofia City Administrative Court in which the latter had found that the trademark had not been sufficiently used by its owner and that, therefore, its registration was subject to revocation (as had also been decided by the Bulgarian Patent Office).

In the course of the proceedings, the cleaning company claimed that the disputed services in Class 35 had been provided to a cosmetics company pursuant to a contract for office maintenance. According to an annex to the contract and a witness statement, it was established that, apart from cleaning the offices, the individual employed by the cleaning company also acted as a receptionist, thus performing office functions.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Administrative Court found that the primary service agreed on by the parties was daily office maintenance. The rest of the services were only of a supplementary character and had been provided occasionally. Therefore, the provision of these services did not amount to genuine use of the VASILKA mark for office functions.

Consequently, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the lower court.

Dimitar Batakliev, PETOŠEVIĆ, Sofia

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