Bulgaria's new law on trademarks and geographical indications entered into force on 17 December 2019. It brings significant changes to certain aspects of substantive and procedural law, including new absolute and relative grounds for refusal and cancellation. Read more
The Bulgarian Patent Office has published for public consultation a draft law which aims to align Bulgarian national legislation with EU Regulation 1151/2012, under which EU member states are permitted to grant protection to geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs only at EU level.
The Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted the new Ordinance on Industrial Property Representatives, under which all individuals wishing to become industrial property representatives must pass a qualifying exam. This is the first act in Bulgaria to establish industrial property representative as a regulated profession.
The Commission for the Protection of Competition has imposed a fine of €44,000 on food supplement maker Naturpharma Bulgaria for copying a competitor’s packaging. The commission ruled that the similarities between the Arthrostop and Arthroguard packaging were sufficient to mislead consumers - especially because the products target a specific age group which is less able to differentiate between similar packaging designs.
The Commission for the Protection of Competition has fined two Bulgarian companies - a dairy producer and a dairy distributor - for unfair competition. The CPC found that the similarities between the parties’ product were sufficient to mislead consumers and undermine the distinctiveness of the plaintiff’s brand.
The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition in which the latter had fined a Bulgarian tea importer and distributor for copying a competitor’s packaging. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant had designed the packaging of its Plantation Fresh Brand and Plantation Fresh products so as to copy the packaging of the plaintiff’s Emona Brand and Resh products.
The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition to impose a fine on Bulgarian cosmetics manufacturer TSH Cosmetics for producing and selling children’s shampoo that was similar to that produced by Bulgaria’s oldest cosmetics company, Alen Mak.
The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition against a local company for registering and using a domain name that was confusingly similar to that of a competitor. The commission had found that there was infringement under Article 35, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Law on the Protection of Competition, and fined the defendant €57,500.
The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition in which the latter had fined a Sofia-based company for using a domain name that was confusingly similar to that of a competitor. The commission had imposed a fine amounting to 2% of the company’s 2008 turnover, but the court ruled that this amount was unjustified.
The Disputes Department of the Patent Office has rejected an opposition by Deutsche Telekom AG against an application for the figurative mark GLOBAL NET SOLUTIONS, filed by a Bulgarian competitor. Among other things, the Disputes Department found that the application contained the colours red and blue on a white background, while Deutsche Telekom’s earlier mark was described as 'magenta'.
The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled in favour of Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull GmbH in a trademark cancellation action against Bulgarian soft drink producer Nova Trade Ltd, which owned the PIT BULL mark. Among other things, the court held that Red Bull's trademarks are perceived as “original” and are strongly associated with a particular type of product.
The Supreme Administrative Court has considered whether the provision of services that fell outside the scope of an employee’s main duties amounted to genuine use of the employer’s trademark. The dispute concerned the genuine use of the trademark VASILKA, owned by a cleaning company and registered for office functions services in Class 35.
A globally known brand of hotels and resorts has succeeded in revocation proceedings for non-use against a Bulgarian hospitality company. The Patent Office found that the evidence submitted by the Bulgarian company showed its intent to use the trademarks, but did not prove that the marks had been put to genuine use.
The Administrative Court - Sofia City has revoked a decision of the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office refusing to cancel the word mark PIT BULL for goods in Class 32. Among other things, the court held that use of the mark PIT BULL for energy drinks was taking unfair advantage of, and was detrimental to, the distinctive character of the RED BULL marks.
The Bulgarian PTO has partially invalidated the trademark DILOR, which had been registered for goods in Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 21 in the name of a Bulgarian resident. The PTO concluded that use of the mark DILOR took unfair advantage of, and was detrimental to, the reputation and the distinctive character of the earlier mark DIOR.
The Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office has refused to register the word mark CHIPS’Y KING for goods in Class 29, finding that there was a likelihood of confusion with earlier 'CHiPSY' marks for goods in Classes 29 and 30. Among other things, the board found that the opponent owned a family of marks containing the common distinctive component 'CHiPSY'.
Following the decision of the ECJ in the <i>IP TRANSLATOR</i> case, the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office has changed its approach to interpreting the scope of protection of trademarks when class headings are used in lists of goods and services in trademark applications and registrations.