Geographical Indications

– Law on Marks and Geographical Indications, in force since December 17, 2019 (Official Gazette No. 98/December 13, 2019).
– Regulation for Drafting, Filing and Examination of the Applications for Registration of Marks and Geographical Indications (Official Gazette No. 9/2000), amended on September 9, 2011.

Membership in International Conventions

– See under “Trade and Service Marks“.

Protection

Definition: “geographical indications" mean appellations of origin and geographical indication.  

Granting of protection: by registration. Geographical indications for agricultural products, foods, spirits, flavored wine products which are subject of respective EU regulations are not registrable under the provisions of this law.  

Ground for refusal: the registration is not admitted in case the geographical indication (a) has turned into a generic name in Bulgaria for goods of a certain kind without any association with the place of production thereof; (b) is identical with an early registered plant variety or animal breed name, if there is likelihood of misleading the consumers; (c) is identical with a geographical indication or mark registered earlier for identical goods; (d) is identical or similar with a geographical indication or mark registered earlier for identical or similar goods if there is likelihood of misleading the consumers. 

Termination of the protection: (a) where the relationship between the properties of the goods and the geographical environment no longer exists; (b) the legal entity which is the sole user is terminated without a legal successor; (c) the sole registered user of the geographical indication waives his right of use.  

User right: may be used only by person registered as user of the geographical indication. 

License: not admissible.

Assignment: not admissible.

Invalidation: by request of interested party or ex officio, where it is registered in violation of the law or the registration of a foreign geographical indication is declared invalid in the country of origin.

Filing requirements for applications by foreigners:
1. Power of attorney;
2. Document certifying the registration in the country of origin.

Appeal: the refusal of registration may be appealed before the Commission for Disputes of the Patent Office and then before the Administrative Court. 

Infringement and penalties: any use of a registered geographical indication by a person who is not recorded as a user shall constitute an infringement. Actions before the civil court for establishment of the fact of infringement, suspension of the act of infringement, compensation for damages and losses, processing or destruction of infringing goods and the means for their manufacturing, and publication of the court decision in two daily newspapers and during the emission time of a national television station. Administrative penal sanctions: confiscation of the infringing goods and their destruction; pecuniary sanction imposed with penal injunction issued by the President of the Patent Office. Border measures are also available.