Industrial Designs

– Law on Industrial Designs, in force since December 15, 1999 (Official Gazette No. 81/September 14, 1999), with latest amendments of December 13, 2019.
– Regulation for Drafting, Filing and Examination of the Applications for Registration of Industrial Designs (Official Gazette No. 9/2000), with latest amendments of July 8, 2011.

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since May 19, 1970.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since December 1, 1996.
– Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Stockholm Act since December 11, 1996, and Geneva Act since October 7, 2008.
– Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs, since February 27, 2001.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since April 29, 2001.

Filing

Applicant: any person (individual, firm, company or corporation). 

Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: must appoint a representative. 

Foreigners: can file and claim priorities. 

Kinds of designs and models: “design” means the appearance of the whole or a part of the product resulting from the features of the form, the lines, the contours, the ornaments, the colors or color combinations. “Product” means any industrial or handcrafted item, including parts intended to be assembled into a complex product, packaging, graphic symbols and topographic typefaces, excluding computer programs.

Novelty: not made available to the public before the application date through publications, use, registration or any disclosure through any means and anywhere. Any disclosure made within twelve months prior to filing the application/priority date shall not be taken into consideration if it is made by the author, his successor, or a third party as a result of information provided or action taken by the creator or his successor in title, or in abuse of the creator.

Priorities: according to Paris Convention, six months; must be claimed not later than two months after the filing date.

Exceptions to protection: designs which: are contrary to public order or morality; whose features are dictated solely by technical and functional characteristics; designs of interconnection.

Series applications: no limitation in the number of designs in case they belong to the same class or to the same complex or composition of items. 

Territory covered: the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, not notarized nor legalized;
2. As many photos or drawings necessary to obtain an exact idea of the design, but not more than 7;
3. 5 copies of each of the views according to point 2, not smaller than 3/4 cm and not larger than 14/24 cm;
4. Brief description of the design (up to 100 words) only by initiative of the applicant;
5. Priority document, if applicable.

Electronic filing: available. 

Electronic signatures: are not accepted (only wet signatures).

Examination

Examination: with respect to all the formal and material requirements.

Application kept secret: not provided for. 

Opposition: not provided for.

Registration: a certificate is issued. 

Corrections: not possible. 

Publication: in the “Bulletin of Inventions, Trade Marks and Designs”.

Registration, Protection

Delivery of document: within one month after payment of the fees for registration, delivery of certificate, and publication of the design. 

Beginning of protection: from the date of filing. 

Duration: ten years from the filing date.

Renewal: for three consecutive periods of five years each.

Marking of registered goods: not obligatory. 

Working: not provided for.

Licenses: possible; must be registered.

Assignment: possible; must be registered.

Kind of right obtained: with the registration of the industrial design, the right of exclusive use is recognized.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Annulment of registration: the registration may be cancelled on request of any person in case the design (a) has been registered in violation of the law; (b) on the grounds of an earlier copyright; (c) an earlier right on industrial property duly protected in accordance with another law, belonging to the petitioner; (d) a court decision establishes that the registered owner of the design is not among the persons who have the right to obtain the registration, and within one month after the court decision, an application for entering the real owner is not filed.

Compulsory licenses: not admissible.

Expropriation: not provided for. 

Infringement and penalties: 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. Penal responsibility: imprisonment for up to three years or a fine. Border measures are also available.