Sofia has become a booming hub for software start-ups, which has had a dramatic effect on many Bulgarian IP lawyers’ workloads; whereas the trademark scene was once dominated by local protection for international rights holders, there is now far more outbound activity. With the economic value of the technology sector in no doubt, practitioners expect that the government will introduce legislation to improve the framework for the transfer of rights. With regard to the Bulgarian Patent Office, the consistency of rulings remains an issue, but it receives notable praise for its responsiveness.
- Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
- Boyanov & Co
- Pavlov & Co
- Arsis Consulting
- Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
- Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
- Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
- Wolf Theiss
- Zivko Mijatovic & Partners
Rights holders looking for a firm that will ruthlessly take the fight to forgers should look no further than Arsis Consulting. Its enforcement whizzes work closely with a well-oiled investigative unit to organise swift seizures; global behemoths that have benefitted from this first-class service include Nike, Converse, Nokia and Playboy Enterprises. Another significant client is BSA – an association of over 70 names in the software industry, established in 1988 by Microsoft. Over the last decade, the team has successfully supported BSA in its efforts to slash piracy rates in Bulgaria, and has also started the ball rolling for a variety of lobbying and enforcement initiatives. Velizar Sokolov and Biliana Magardichian are the first names on the team sheet. Sokolov regularly acts as a consultant to the Bulgarian Parliament on issues concerning the harmonisation of national IP legislation with the acquis communautaire, while Magardichian shines in procedures before the Bulgarian Patent Office, with his razor-sharp mind and can-do attitude.
Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
“Bojinov & Bojinov is one of the biggest, and most impressive, firms in Bulgaria. In intellectual property, it’s leading the way.” Since its establishment in 1935, the outfit has gone from strength to strength, expanding its prosecution and enforcement offerings – to effectively cater for any conceivable IP concern a company might have – enhancing its customer service and flexibility along the way. Clients enjoy holistic support, round-the-clock responsiveness and robust commercial guidance from the Bojinov squad. Steering the practice with a steady hand, Fani Bojinov is an excellent first point of contact. “She is one of the top five lawyers in the country in any practice area – her knowledge and experience are up there with the very best.” Having tried more than 100 cases, she knows exactly what will and will not fly in the courtroom.
Boyanov & Co
Because Boyanov & Co’s IP practice nestles within a widely respected full-service offering, its members have the resources to handle even the most abstruse matters; contract and data protection issues are dealt with in tandem with trademark problems. Recently the team showed off the scope of its knowledge assisting Coca-Cola’s local subsidiary on the development of a new brand for bottled spring water. As well as assisting on the registration of a new trademark, it provided first-rate counsel on how to comply with labelling regulations and unfair competition statutes. Leading on this matter, Kina Chuturkova and Stela Sabeva are a dynamic duo. Having served as a judge, Chuturkova is a meticulous and methodical lawyer whose attention to detail is second to none. “Stela is a really smart IP lawyer with excellent analytical skills, and because she’s so practical, her advice is always valuable, straight to the point and business oriented. She provides a lot of added value to her clients.” Deft portfolio manager Marina Mollova is another compelling choice, she has a star-studded client list that includes GlaxoSmithKline, LycaMobile Group and Energy Beverages (a subsidiary of Monster Beverage Corporation). She adopts a bird’s-eye view on matters before offering shrewd and insightful advice.
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
“Dimitrov, Petrov & Co instantly makes a positive impression on clients. Its lawyers’ availability, attention to detail, breadth of IP knowledge and dedication to finding the best possible solutions is nothing short of remarkable.” The firm is as impressive filing as it is sewing up propitious licensing contracts and protecting marks in the courtroom. Lately it has been flexing its muscles on behalf of mobile.de with regard to registration, conversion, opposition and cancellation issues. This project was overseen by the “very talented and extremely diligent” Bilyana Stefanova, who now directs the practice – following the departure of the esteemed Plamena Georgieva. There are few individuals on the Bulgarian trademark scene with the skillset necessary to step into Plamena’s shoes, but Bilyana is one of them. “She’s brilliant at trademark prosecution and has business smarts, plus she provides advice in a timely manner – communication with her is very easy.” Her burgeoning workload includes providing all-encompassing support for the popular choir Cosmic Voices.
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov is a business law firm with its sights firmly trained on intellectual property. The forward-looking practice comprises six attorneys who have expertise on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide matched by a profound understanding of the local landscape. One company that appreciates its versatility is Deutsche Telekom; the German titan has been calling on the outfit for assistance with registration issues, the negotiation of settlements, the drafting of warning letters and the challenging task of enforcing a single colour mark. Kalina Tchakarova and Teodora Tsenova have been working with Deutsche Telekom together; combining experience and dynamism, they make a stellar partnership. The worldly wise Tchakarova is lauded for the care with which she handles her clients, familiarising herself with the intricacies of their markets and responding to enquiries in a flash. Meanwhile, Tsenova is “a lawyer who will go far – she has tremendous potential. Scrutinising every aspect of a portfolio, she misses nothing. Her approach to brand protection is global, too, which is invaluable”.
Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
Kambourov & Partners’ commercially-minded, cost-effective IP offering is one that resonates with local start-ups and renowned multinationals alike. Its trademark stars work hand in hand with learned members of the firm’s banking and finance, competition and tax law teams to make sure all bases are exhaustively covered. Spearheading the practice, Margarita Guigova is superb at monetising rights and is fluent in English, French and Italian. She is known for forging long-lasting relationships with her clients and also has an exceptional reputation among her peers. “Margarita is a fantastic professional, who is extremely intelligent and a real opinion maker in Bulgarian intellectual property.”
Manev&Partners has been turning heads with an A-to-Z service that stretches from filing through portfolio management all the way to enforcement. Never losing sight of the ultimate business picture, its “strong and experienced” lawyers serve up solution-oriented advice that ticks all the right boxes and comes at a fair price. The engine driving the firm is the venerable Kostadin Manev, a former president of the Bulgarian Patent Office and, consequently, someone with excellent connections. “He’s one of the top lawyers in Bulgaria and has made a significant impact on the landscape.” Having progressed through the ranks under him, Aleksandra Semerdzhieva is no slouch either. “She’s become one of the top litigators in the country. There are very few people at her level.” Like Manev, she speaks English, Russian and German and is silver tongued in the courtroom; geographical indication issues are a particular forte.
Pavlov & Co
“Pavlov & Co is extremely active in the market. It has played a key role in pushing forward legislative initiatives, and continues to impress in the courtroom.” Even though it already earns plaudits from all corners of the market, the group has not stopped looking into ways to make its customer service even better. Of late, its practitioners have been kept busy organising seizures for clients in the fashion industry, alongside issues at the intersection between trademark and unfair competition law. An example of the latter is the representation of EPAY AD before the Commission for Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court. Rolling his sleeves up and burning the midnight oil on this one, Vasil Pavlov “not only has outstanding legal expertise – he’s also someone with real passion for his work. In his free time, he will happily update people on new regulations or enthusiastically elaborate on the latest developments concerning IP regulations. His skill for synthesis, when tackling a complex variety of problems, is impressive too.” Making her debut in the WTR 1000 this year, Sevdalina Drehemova is an extremely accomplished teammate. “She explains the difficulties a client may face and then proposes appropriate actions for overcoming or avoiding them. Because she’s always so well prepared, challenging problems are dealt with in a very short period of time.” She has been working with Pavlov to protect a new product for NUHEALTH with the trademark RICE UP; because the company wanted to export the product to various countries that are not part of the Madrid ystem, the two practitioners had to carefully navigate a selection of local trademark minefields.
“The expertise and efficiency offered by PETOŠEVIĆ makes it an obvious choice in Central and Eastern Europe.” With 15 offices, it has the resources and footprint required to handle even the most unwieldy portfolios. Its scope notwithstanding, the firm serves up an extremely personalised service; clients receive the same account manager across jurisdictions and, therefore, the convenience of a single interface and point of contact. The firm’s EU regional manager, Andrej Bukovnik has a wealth of experience in cross-border cases. Having worked at the Bulgarian Patent Office, Dimitar Batakliev knows its internal processes like the back of his hand and is a cogent choice. Equally proficient on the contentious side, he does not flinch at the prospect of conflict. “He takes a strong approach to cases and never wastes time, which helps to keep costs down for clients. Also, after every hearing, he reports diligently to them, keeping them updated on the latest developments. They really appreciate that. Everything he does is clearly intelligible and on point.”
The Wolf Theiss metier lies in helping local software developers expand overseas. Flanked by excellent private equity and venture capital practices, its IP team is superbly equipped to wrap up licensing contracts or assist with acquisitions. It recently showed its commercial prowess representing MegaPort on the purchase of a Bulgarian start-up – proving that it is also comfortable on the other side of the table. Dessislava Iordanova embodies the firm’s internationalism and the holistic nature of its services. She is a regular before the EU Intellectual Property Office and is “one of the best litigators around for cases concerning the overlap of trademark and unfair competition law”.
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners has the tools and wherewithal needed to establish, exploit and safeguard trademark rights across Southeast Europe. A consolidated back office based in Alicante – combined with sophisticated cloud-based file-sharing software – provides a simple interface for clients and lets the firm strategise on a truly international level. Captaining the team in Sofia, Tsvetomira Vasileva has over 15 years’ experience and a long list of loyal patrons. Her lightning-fast response times inspire complete confidence and help to expedite processes.
Other recommended experts
Stoyan Sirakov at Interius is an up-and-coming practitioner held in high regard for his technical acuity and shrewd business focus. Also based at Interius, Olga Sirakova is an “extremely thorough and precise” practitioner, who is eloquent to the last. She furnishes her clients with compelling, transparent reports free of legalese.
- Vasil Pavlov - Pavlov & Co
- Dimitar Batakliev - PETOŠEVIĆ
- Fani V Bojinova - Bojinov & Bojinov Ltd Patent Trademark & Law Offices
- Andrej Bukovnik - PETOŠEVIĆ
- Kina Chuturkova - Boyanov & Co
- Sevdalina Drehemova - Pavlov & Co
- Margarita Guigova - Kambourov & Partners, Attorneys at Law
- Dessislava Iordanova - Wolf Theiss
- Biliana Magardichian - Arsis Consulting
- Kostadin Manev - Manev&Partners
- Marina Mollova - Boyanov & Co
- Stela Sabeva - Boyanov & Co
- Aleksandra Semerdzhieva - Manev&Partners
- Stoyan Sirakov - Interius
- Olga Sirakova - Interius
- Velizar Sokolov - Arsis Consulting
- Bilyana Stefanova - Dimitrov, Petrov & Co
- Kalina S Tchakarova - Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
- Teodora Tsenova - Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
- Tsvetomira Vasileva - Zivko Mijatovic & Partners