Bulgaria

In late 2019, Bulgaria transposed the EU Trademark Directive into national law. The new legislation has introduced some noteworthy changes, including revised grounds for refusal and cancellation, better regulation of intermediary liability and clearer provisions on geographical indications. Practitioners are enthusiastic about the opportunities that this new regime should create; and with a surge in IP activity both online and offline, it could not have come at a better time.

Firms

  • Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
  • Boyanov & Co
  • Pavlov & Co
  • Arsis Consulting
  • Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
  • Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov
  • Dr Emil Benatov & Partners
  • Interius
  • Iskra Christova & Partners
  • Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
  • Manev & Partners
  • PETOŠEVIĆ
  • Zivko Mijatovic & Partners 

Arsis Consulting

“Highly skilled in contentious and anti-counterfeiting matters”, Arsis Consulting has performed superbly since its establishment in 1991. The outfit has carved a solid niche in the software industry, providing staunch representation in enforcement scenarios to heavy hitters such as Microsoft and Adobe. Leading the charge is Velizar Sokolov, who brings an academic but pragmatic touch to his work and has published widely on optimum protection strategies for intangible assets. Colleague Bilyana Magardichian manages portfolios effectively and frequently appears before local and European administrative bodies. Joining them for the first time in the rankings this year is Andrea Andreev, who effortlessly clears the market of fakes thanks to close and fruitful relationships with local law enforcement.

Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices

One of the longest-serving boutiques in the country, Bojinov & Bojinov draws on intimate knowledge of local laws and practices to provide value-adding guidance to domestic and international players alike. Litigation ace Fani Bojinova has significant trial experience, having appeared in more 100 cases, and frequently represents Fortune 500 companies. Deftly operating across both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide and capitalising on time served in the United States, Elena Miller dispenses holistic counsel with a cosmopolitan flavour.

Boyanov & Co

“Organised, knowledgeable and efficient, the team at Boyanov & Co provides strategic advice and is well equipped to handle different aspects of commercial law.” The gold-standard firm is a byword for meticulous protection and enforcement, particularly in the digital realm. IP department lead Stela Sabeva sets the tone: “She has a high degree of commitment and a deep understanding of both legislation and judicial practice, which instils clients with a deep sense of confidence. Stela is proactive with her advice and always anticipates her opponent’s next moves.” She recently went out to bat for ZMM – Bulgaria Holding, the country’s largest machine building company, in a complex cancellation action. Teaming up with her on this brief was Marina Mollova, a portfolio manager par excellence. Making her debut in the WTR 1000 this year, Rossiza Marinova is another star of the prosecution practice, who impresses for her diligence and solutions-oriented approach. Crack litigator Kina Chuturkova oversees the contentious division: “She expertly leverages her experience in ancillary disciplines to complement her understanding of the trademark arena” and vigilantly defends patrons’ interests.

Dimitrov, Petrov & Co

“Sophisticated IP transactions are handled perfectly” by full-service firm Dimitrov, Petrov & Co. A prime destination for brand owners seeking comprehensive support on significant projects, it has won the loyalty of household names such as The Walt Disney Company and Google. Captaining the squad, Bilyana Angelova garners effusive praise: “She is a fierce advocate before the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) and expertly guides clients through unclear situations between the local office and the EUIPO. Bilyana provides laser-sharp advice on legal and strategic issues in a coherent and timely manner. It is always a pleasure working with a highly qualified and lovely practitioner like her”. Angelova linked up with WTR 1000 newcomer Asya Vladimirova to assist gaming company NOVOMATIC with over 10 invalidation requests this year. She delivers clear-cut, highly effective guidance and has a keen eye for the commercialisation of assets.

Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov

Leading commercial firm DGKV combines sparkling language and communication skills with a global outlook and an affinity for innovative industries. It is an asset to both multinational brand owners looking to enter the Bulgarian market and domestic concerns hoping to make forays into surrounding territories. For example, it recently advised local start-up Nasekomo on the largest publicly announced early stage ag-tech deal in emerging Europe. When it comes to enforcement and dispute resolution, Kalina Tchakarova and Dessislava Iordanova pair up seamlessly. With over two decades in the game, Tchakarova is never fazed; while the business-minded Iordanova knows what flies with the C-suite thanks to a former stint in-house.

Dr Emil Benatov & Partners

Dr Emil Benatov & Partners breaks into the WTR 1000 for the first time this year on a wave of praise from both peers and patrons: “One of the country’s oldest and most esteemed IP agencies, it manages the portfolios of numerous prominent companies and maintains a strong presence in the courtroom.” “The team has utmost respect for each other and works together like a family, which brings tremendous value; it treats clients in the same manner and tends to their every need.” The set takes its cue from Ekaterina Popova, who comes warmly recommended for her “scrupulous work ethic. Ekaterina is always up to date on legal precedent and puts in the time to develop her knowledge of the law, despite her already solid understanding of the subject. She is well networked, has an exceptional attitude and gives clients her full commitment and attention, rather than delegating to others”. Another fan favourite is Samuil Benatov, “a diligent lawyer who shows great respect and care for his clients. He does not just evaluate matter from a legal perspective; he also assesses its practicalities to come up with realistic solutions”.

Interius

“For sensitive trademark matters in Bulgaria, there is only one firm to instruct – and that is Interius.” A new addition to the guide this year, the side has an impeccable track record in oppositions, disputes and anti-counterfeiting. Olga Sirakova has been at the helm since 1993 and “offers outstanding professional advice at a reasonable cost. She faces challenges with a flexible approach, uses different methods to solve them and always stays focused on the core issues. She quickly understands key points, serves as a reliable guide and is undoubtedly one of the best experts in Bulgaria”. Sirakova has also actively contributed to the IP community both at home and abroad, having held several eminent positions, including as secretary general of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property. “Loyal and trustworthy partner” Stoyan Sirakov has “exceptional knowledge of intellectual property and approaches each case with the necessary commercial sensitivity required to make accurate assessments and action plans that best protect business interests”.

Iskra Christova & Partners

“The reliable attorneys at Iskra Christova & Partners respond quickly and provide clear, concise advice in any IP scenario.” Its A-to-Z offering and appreciation for the dynamics of the life sciences and luxury goods industries have kept clients flocking to its doors for decades. Namesake Iskra Christova brings over 35 years of experience and unique insight gained as a former BPO examiner to the mix. Joining her in the rankings are Zoran Christov and Mira Christova. Christov handles complex disputes with unfair competition threads without breaking a sweat; while all-rounder Mira “is both precise and realistic when predicting success rates; you can always count on the accuracy of her advice”.

Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law

Kambourov & Partners consistently delivers all-encompassing, forward-thinking trademark support; but it truly shines when “developing brand strategies that minimise the potential trademark infringement and competition risks. The team are proven experts, with deep legal and industry knowledge and a knack for resourcefulness”. Providing robust leadership is Margarita Guigova: “She is an authority in her field and combines creativity and precision in her approach. Her solutions are practical and comprehensive, while her advice is business and results-oriented. Margarita is truly a pleasure to work with.” She and Yana Todorova often link up to represent entities such as Kamenitza and Net Info, Bulgaria’s leading brewing company and largest digital media business respectively. “A sharp, inventive and skilled practitioner, Yana has an excellent grasp on both the legal and commercial aspects of trademark disputes. Her business attitude and communication style fill clients with a sense of confidence”.

Manev & Partners

“Manev&Partners is a firm you can count on. It is direct in its approach and easy to work with, making for a fruitful collaboration”. Although it is renowned for its enforcement capabilities, the ensemble is equally proficient at prosecution. Managing partner and former BPO president Kostadin Manev knows how best to get registrations through to grant and enforces rights with verve. Also bringing profound BPO know-how to the practice is Aleksandra Semerdzhieva, who adroitly traverses the contentious/non-contentious divide.

Pavlov & Co

Stacked with “proactive and highly skilled practitioners”, Pavlov & Co covers the full spectrum of brand protection. Its counsel is always aligned with the needs of patrons and aims to help them realise their business goals. Managing partner and dual-qualified attorney Vasil Pavlov is a prominent figure on the Bulgarian legal landscape with several precedent-setting cases under his belt; he has been instrumental in implementing novel trademark protection procedures, particularly in the fight against fakes. Anti-counterfeiting specialist Momchil Lazarov knows the lay of the land and has a well-stocked tactical arsenal to catch out counterfeiters. Rounding off the squad, and providing sophisticated portfolio management for local and international brands, is Sevdalina Drehemova.

PETOŠEVIĆ

A well-known name in the IP world, PETOŠEVIĆ has established itself as a formidable presence throughout Eastern Europe. The Bulgarian branch operates on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide and has recently been assigned all EUIPO work for the firm. This means that Dimitar Batakliev is often at the centre of EU prosecution and opposition matters, while also representing prominent social media brands in disputes. Batakliev additionally coordinates the anti-counterfeiting division and has forged close relationships with customs officers as a result. Joining Batakliev in the fight against fakes, in both physical and online marketplaces, is Petia Petrova. The WTR 1000 debutante is an internationally minded strategist and counsellor.

Zivko Mijatovic & Partners 

European powerhouse ZMP has had boots on the ground in Bulgaria for more than decade. Its local practitioners work hand in glove with their counterparts in 15 countries throughout Southeast Europe to provide game-changing assistance on multi-jurisdictional instructions. The set truly shines on cross-border anti-counterfeiting mandates, where its enforcement package is a perfect match for companies with regional needs. Tsvetomira Vasileva is the resident opposition and cancellation guru, but also knows what it takes to combat large-scale infringements.

Other recommended experts

Turcu & Turcu’s Plamena Popova and Aneta Tadjer are a reference for many Bulgarian companies looking to safeguard their rights both at home and abroad. Both have an appreciation for legal theory, but their approach is never stuffy or overly academic; in tune with commercial realities, they come up with solutions that translate well in the real world. At CMS Sofia, Nevena Radlova operates at the intersection of IP and commercial law, and excels at bringing disputes to a successful close.

Individuals

  • Vasil Pavlov - Pavlov & Co
  • Stela Sabeva - Boyanov & Co
  • Bilyana Angelova - Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
  • Dimitar Batakliev - PETOŠEVIĆ
  • Samuil Benatov - Dr Emil Benatov & Partners
  • Fani V Bojinova - Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
  • Elena Bojinova Miller - Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
  • Iskra Christova - Iskra Christova & Partners
  • Mira Christova - Iskra Christova & Partners
  • Kina Chuturkova - Boyanov & Co
  • Sevdalina Drehemova - Pavlov & Co
  • Margarita Guigova - Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
  • Dessislava Iordanova - Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov
  • Momchil Lazarov - Pavlov & Co
  • Biliana Magardichian - Arsis Consulting
  • Biliana Magardichian - Iskra Christova & Partners
  • Kostadin Manev - Manev&Partners
  • Marina Mollova - Boyanov & Co
  • Aleksandra Semerdzhieva - Manev & Partners
  • Stoyan Sirakov - Interius
  • Olga Sirakova - Interius
  • Velizar Sokolov - Arsis Consulting
  • Kalina S Tchakarova - Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
  • Tsvetomira Vasileva - Zivko Mijatovic & Partners 
  • Andrea Andreev - Arsis Consulting
  • Rossiza Marinova - Boyanov & Co
  • Petia Petrova - PETOŠEVIĆ
  • Ekaterina Popova - Dr Emil Benatov & Partners
  • Plamena Popova - Turcu & Turcu
  • Aneta Tadjer - Turcu & Turcu
  • Yana Todorova - Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
  • Asya Vladimirova - Dimitrov, Petrov & Co