“What a Bulgarian trademark is?” as stipulated by the Bulgarian trademark law at present, is that marks are signs that are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of other persons and can be represented graphically. The law further illustrates a non exhaustive list of what actually that means, in particular that such signs may be words, including the names of persons, or letters, numerals, drawings, figures, the shape of goods or of their packaging, a combination of colours, sound signals or any combination of such elements.
A mark may be a trademark, a service mark, a collective mark or a certification mark.
On the other hand, signs which do not perform the function of the trademark and do not fulfill the above definition are exempt from registration. Additionally, non-registrable are signs which are devoid of any distinctive character; descriptive; contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality; deceive the consumers as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services; consist of or include the name or a representation of historical and cultural monuments, flags or other emblems of a country. These criteria are know as “absolute grounds for refusal”.
In addition to this, a Bulgarian trademark shall not be registered if it is identical or confusingly similar to registered trademark or filed trademark application with effect for the territory of Bulgaria, i.e. European Union (EU) Trademark or International (IR) trademark designating Bulgaria, with earlier filing or priority date than the trademark in question and the earlier trademark is registered or applied for identical or confusingly similar goods and/or services. It might well happen that the earlier trademark is intented for goods and services unrelated to the processed Bulgarian trademark, but the earlier trademark is well known in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. These criteria are also know as “relative grounds for refusal” and are not evaluated by the Bulgarian Patent Office. Its earlier TM applicants’responsibility to contest such applications for identical or confusingly similar BG trademark applications.
As a rule of thumb, BG trademark registration is always performed with respect to one or more classes of specific goods and/or services governed by the Nice Classification which should correspond to those goods and/or services commercialised by its owner. Practically, a well defined list of goods and/or services in combination with the representation of the sign, define the legal scope of protection of the Bulgarian Trademark.
WHAT RIGHTS ARE ATTESTED TO THE OWNER OF A REGISTERED BULGARIAN TRADEMARK?
The right to a Bulgarian Trademark Registration has the person or entity that firstly filed the application for Bulgarian Trademark Registration with BPO.
The right acquired to the owner of the registered BG trademark is an exclusive right and its owner is entitled to use it, dispose it (assignment or licensing of trademark) and prevent any unauthorized use by others in the course of trade for the same or confusingly similar signs. Practically, the use in the course of trade that could be prevented may encompass: affixing the sign to the goods or to the packaging thereof; offering the goods, placing them on the market or stocking them for these purposes under that sign, or offering or supplying services thereunder; importing or exporting the goods under that sign;using the sign on business papers and in advertising.