In order to be patentable, the invention needs to be: new; to have an inventive step, i.e. not to be obvious from the existing state of the art for specialists in the field, and last but not least to have industrial applicability - to be reproducible or used repeatedly in the relevant branch of the industry or agriculture.
It is important to note that not every invention can be patented. Even if it has a world novelty, the invention needs to be a completely new technical solution of a specific technical problem. According to the basic theoretical principles stipulated in the regulations, a patent for inventions cannot be granted for:
- Scientific discoveries, theoretical formulations or mathematical methods;
- Achievements in the field of music and artistic creativity;
- Methods and rules or plans in the intellectual field, business activity and as well computer software;
- Presentation of information;
FILING AN APPLICATION FOR A BULGARIAN PATENT FOR AN INVENTION
The Bulgarian natural or legal persons, as well as foreign natural or legal persons (originating from member states under international agreements to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party - the Paris Convention (PC) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) may apply for Bulgarian patents. The applicants who do not have a registered office or permanent address in our country are obliged to perform actions before the Bulgarian Patent Office only through an authorized local Representative for Industrial Property or a qualified patent attorney. The Bulgarian applicants are not required to be represented by a patent attorney in the proceedings before the Patent Office. However, it is recommended that they use the help of a qualified and experienced Bulgarian Industrial Property Representative. He can competently prepare the description of the patent application, as well as professionally lead the procedure concerning the Bulgarian patent application till an effective result is achieved.
RIGHTS CONFERRED TO THE PATENT HOLDER BY THE ISSUED BULGARIAN PATENT FOR INVENTION
The issued Bulgarian patent for invention provides monopoly (exclusive) rights to the owner, they include: the right to dispose of the subject of the patent (invention), as well as to prohibit third parties (without his permission) to use the patented invention (process, method, product), technology). The patent claims in the issued patent determine the scope of legal protection. They may have been changed during the procedure for granting a patent at the Patent Office.
TERRITORIAL SCOPE AND TERM OF PROTECTION OF THE PATENTS FOR INVENTIONS
The issued Bulgarian patents for inventions have a strictly defined territorial and temporal scope. Their effect is only for the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Their term of protection is 20 years, which starts from the priority date of filing the application at the Bulgarian Patent Office. It is required the annual fees for maintaining the patent to be paid regularly and on time for each current year. Regarding medicines, the term of protection may be extended by a maximum of 5.5 years, and for plant protection products the term of protection may be extended by 5 years. These additional periods shall be provided after the respective request for issuance of the Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC).
WHAT ALTERNATIVE WAYS EXIST FOR PROTECTION OF INVENTIONS
For some types of inventions that do not have sufficient economic potential or those that are not so innovative and complex, the Act on Patents and Registration of Utility Models provides a convenient additional opportunity for their owners seeking protection of their inventions in the Republic of Bulgaria. In parallel with the application for a national patent, the inventor may, if he so wishes, to file at the Patent Office an application for registration in the country of a utility model for the same invention, having the opportunity to refer to the priority date of filing the patent application. Besides that, the Bulgarian law for patents also provides the additional possibility, if necessary, the Bulgarian patent application to be transformed (converted) into a national application for a utility model, observing the mandatory regulatory requirements.
The protection of inventions on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria can also be achieved through other alternative ways - for example, by filing an application for a European patent for an invention at the European Patent Office (EPO). In this case, after the issuance of the European patent it is necessary a validation to be done in the Republic of Bulgaria. There is another way for the acquisition of exclusive patent rights on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria - this is achieved through the initiation of an international (PCT) application, which may subsequently enter the national phase in the Republic of Bulgaria. The protection provided by the already issued national patent for the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is the same as that obtained through the issuance of a European patent for the same invention.
The same is true when a Bulgarian patent for an invention is issued after the entry of an international PCT application in the national phase in our country. By filing a national application for a Bulgarian patent directly at the Patent Office, there are some advantages - the costs and formalities are reduced significantly and the procedure is simplified compared to the proceedings for European (in EPO) or the international procedure (before WIPO). In these cases, the correspondence with the Patent Office is conducted only in Bulgarian.