More than three decades PATENT BUREAU - PLOVDIV has dedicated its activities to the protection of the objects of the Industrial Property. This activity is in several main areas, which include individual consulting, preparation of national, European and international applications for registration of Industrial Designs. Our team includes highly qualified patent attorneys, entered in the Register of the Professional Representatives before the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and the European Patent Office.
We provide full assistance and procedural protection before national courts, arbitration bodies and the Commission for Protection of Competition in cases of infringement of rights over all objects of Industrial Property including Industrial Designs. In this regard, we have established long-standing traditions with many Bulgarian and foreign business partners and clients.
According to Art. 3 of the Industrial Design Act, an Industrial Design is the visible appearance of the whole or apart of a product, determined by the peculiarities of the shape, lines, pattern, ornaments, the harmony of colours or the color combinations. A product means any industrial or handicraft item, including inter alia parts intended to be assembled into a complex product, assembly or composition of products, packaging, graphic symbols and typographic typefaces, but excluding computer programs.
According to Art. 10 of the Idustrial Design Act, the exclusive right over a national Industrial Design is acquired through its registration with the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Art. 11 of the Idustrial Design Act formulates the main regulatory requirements for the registration of an Industrial Design - novelty and originality.
The same article also classifies those objects that are not registrable as Industrial Designs:
– - Contrary to public policy and good morals;
- Whose features are determined only by the technical function of the product;
- Whose features are determined by the need for the product to which the design is attached or to which it is included, to be mechanically connected or placed in, around, or against another product so that the two products perform their functions, except for a design whose purpose is to make it possible a multiple assembly or connection of interchangeable products in a modular system.
The scope of the legal protection of the Industrial Designs is determined by their images, with which they are registered in the application.
The standard period of validity of the protection (registration) of the Industrial Designs is 10 years, as from the priority date of filing the application at the Patent Office. According to the law this term may be renewed for three consecutive periods of five years each. Thus, the maximum period of validity of the Industrial Design can reach 25 years. This is possible only with timely payment of the due fees for each new renewal period. It is important to note that all registrations of objects of the Industrial Property, such as Industrial Designs, have both a strictly territorial and a precise temporal character.
According to Art. 18. of the Industrial Design Act, the scope of the legal protection is determined by the image, respectively by the images of the registered design and extends to each design, which does not create in the informed user a different overall perception.
According to Art. 19 of the Idustrial Design Act, the exclusive right over a registered Industrial Design includes: the right of its owner to use it, to dispose of it, as well as to prohibit third parties without his consent to copy or use in the commercial activities design, included in the scope of the received protection. The law regulates that the use of a Industrial design includes: the manufacture, offer and expose on the market or the use of a product in which a design within the scope of the protection is incorporated or attached, and as well as import, export or storage of the same product for these purposes . The right has effect regarding bona fide third parties from the date of the publication of the registration of the Industrial Design.
According to Art. 16 of the Idustrial Design Act, the right to apply for Industrial Design belongs to the author or under certain conditions to his successor. Where the right of application belongs to several persons, it shall be exercised jointly. The priority date of the entry of the application is considered the date of the receipt at the Patent Office of the minimum required volume of correctly completed documents, which include:
the request for registration of an Industrial Design; the name and address of the applicant (natural person or legal entity); the name and address of the author (provided that it differs from the first);
the number of Industrial Designs (for multiple requests); if necessary, indication of the products in which it is included or to which the Industrial Design is applied; class according to the Locarno classification; quality images of the designs (they can be both graphic and photographic). If necessary, it is possible in one general (multiple) application to be included several Industrial Designs. The Industrial Design Act stipulates that for such multiple applications, the products included in them have to refer to designs that are in the same class of the Locarno International Classification or have obligatory to belong to the same set or composition. When requesting registration of Industrial Designs, which are ornaments, such condition does not exist. All documents before the Patent Office shall be submitted in Bulgarian language. When presented in another language, the filing date is retained if within 2 months term from this date they are presented in Bulgarian language.
Each application for Industrial Design, which has successfully passed the initial stage of formal examination, is published in the Official Bulletin of the Patent Office. Within two months, an examination is carried out as to whether the filed Industrial Design is a design within the meaning of Art. 3 of the Industrial Design Act and as well whether the object of the design is not excluded of protection according to Art. 11(2) of the Industrial Design Act. In case of found irregularities of different nature, the Patent Office
notifies the applicant or his representative, giving the respective term for their elimination.
An industrial design registration is obtained for a design that is new and original.
• The design is new if before the date of submission of the application, respectively before the date of priority, no other identical design is known, which has become publicly available through publications, use, registration or disclosure in any other way anywhere in the world.
• The design is considered original if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced by a design which has been made available to the public before the date of the application for registration or when priority is claimed before the priority date.
A design is not registered if is: contrary to public order or morals; design, the features of which are determined solely by the technical or functional characteristics of the product; design, the peculiarities of which are conditioned by the need for the product to which the design is included or applied to be mechanically connected or placed in, around or against another product so that both products perform their functions.
• Transfer of the right over a design: In case of ownership of the right over a design by two or more persons, it is transferred with the written consent of all co-owners.
• The holder of the right over a design may allow the use of the design with a license agreement. Permission to use a design that is jointly owned by two or more persons shall be given with the written consent of all co-owners, unless otherwise agreed between them. In the case of a multiple application, the right of use may be granted in respect of all or some of the designs.
• The validity of a registered Industrial Design is ten years from the date of submission of the application, and the registration may be renewed for three consecutive periods of five years.
The scope of the legal protection is determined by:
the image, respectively by the images of a registered design and includes any design that does not create in the consumers a different overall perception.
• The validity of the registration is terminated with:
• the expiration of the term, with the refusal of the holder,
• termination of the legal entity - owner of the design without legal succession.
* The registration is partially or completely deleted on demand of third parties or ex officio by the Patent Office, if it was done illegally.
• The Disputes Division of the Patent Office considers:
• appeals against decisions for refusal of registration
• appeals against decisions for discontinuance of the proceedings lodged within three months term and
• requests for deletion, which can be submitted throughout the whole term of validity of the registration.
• Any interested person may file a claim for establishment of pre-use.
• Natural persons and legal entities having a place of residence or actually existing and operating enterprise in the Republic of Bulgaria may submit international applications under the Hague Agreement.
• The law also provides measures for border control and administrative liability in case of infringement of the right over a registered design.
PATENT BUREAU - PLOVDIV provides reliable competent legal protection of all rights related to your objects of Industrial Property, including those over Industrial Designs. We provide full assistance at all levels of administrative or criminal proceedings before the Patent Office and civil courts. Our law assistance in lawsuits can make an invaluable contribution to the pursuit of protecting your legitimate interests and rights over the Industrial Designs. The highly motivated and qualified team of experts of the PATENT BUREAU - PLOVDIV is always at your disposal to solve all problems related to the registration and protection of all objects of the Industrial Property. If you have any difficulties with some of the procedures before the Patent Office, do not hesitate to contact us.