Intellectual Property Protection in Bulgaria

Jul 2 2007 - 14:21

By Predrag Anokic, SD PETOSEVIC, Balkan Regional Office, Published in World Trade Executive, May 2007

Legislative Basis for Protection of Intellectual Property

In general, the protection of intellectual property is based on Articles 17 and 54 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. Article 17 of the Constitution foresees that the property of every person is inviolable and guaranteed and protected by law. Article 54 of the Constitution foresees that artistic, scientific and technological creativity shall be recognized and guaranteed by the law and that the state shall protect all inventors’ rights, copyrights and related rights.
There have also been laws passed providing legal protection to different categories of intellectual property. Namely:

  • Patent Law
  • Law on Marks and Geographical indications
  • Law on Industrial Designs
  • Law on the Protection of New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds
  • Law on Topography of Integrated Circuits
  • Copyright and Neighboring Rights Law

Treaties and Conventions

Bulgaria is a party to several multilateral international treaties. They are:
* Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial property – Bulgaria became a member on June 13, 1921.
* Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – Bulgaria became a member on May 19, 1970.
* Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) – Bulgaria became a member on May 21, 1984.
* Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the purposes of Patent Procedure – Bulgaria became a member on August 19, 1980.
* Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Design – Bulgaria became a member on December 11, 1996.
* Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks – Bulgaria became a member on August 01, 1985.
* Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks – Bulgaria became a member on October 02, 2001.
* Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration – Bulgaria became a member on August 12, 1975.
* Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods – Bulgaria became member on August 12, 1975.
* International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) – Bulgaria became member on April 24, 1998.
* Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification – Bulgaria became a member on November 27, 2001.
* Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks – Bulgaria became a member on February 27, 2001.
* Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks – Bulgaria became a member on February 27, 2001.
* Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification of Industrial Designs – Bulgaria became a member on February 27, 2001.
* Convention on the Grant of European Patents (European Patent Convention) – Bulgaria became a member on July 01, 2002.

National Regulatory Authorities

The Patent Law of June 1, 1993, established the present Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of the Republic of Bulgaria as the authority overseeing the registration of intellectual property in Bulgaria.

On January 12, 2006, the Council of Intellectual Property Protection was also established within the Ministry of Culture. The Council is tasked with coordinating the work of all agencies involved in intellectual property protection and enforcement in Bulgaria. Moreover the Council will work out priority measures and actions enhancing the efficiency of the practical application of regulations. This body will discuss projects regulating the activities relating to intellectual property, will assist cooperation and coordination with non-profit organizations, and oversee the implementation of significant national and regional projects.

Enforcement of IP Rights

Civil procedure
It is possible to file civil claims before the civil court in Bulgaria for infringement of intellectual property rights. In each law concrete infringements for which such claims may be filed are identified, as are the concrete sanctions which may be awarded by the court. In this regard, all IP laws are harmonized with EU legislation, as well as TRIPs and other international acts.

Administrative procedure
Administrative proceedings brought before the PTO against infringers are also possible. Upon application, the PTO has the power to investigate and detain counterfeit goods and ultimately issue fines against the infringers. It should be noted that such fines are nominal and such proceedings are most effective when the identity of the infringer is known.

Criminal procedure
Another possible tool against infringers are criminal proceedings. The Criminal Code prohibits the use of intellectual property without permission of the holder. The police and the Criminal Court, upon request filed by the owner of the right or by their legal representative, can initiate proceedings. The police investigates the alleged infringer and can confiscate counterfeit goods before beginning criminal proceedings.

Customs Measures
Special regulations for the protection of intellectual property at the borders of Bulgaria have also been implemented. Bulgarian Customs has the authority to detain goods which are suspected of infringing the intellectual property rights of a third party. Right holders must file a request for the enforcement of their rights with the Customs authorities. Once such a request has been filed, the owner will be officially informed of any suspect shipments and will be asked to identify the seized goods as counterfeit.

Arbitration Court
The Arbitration Court on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property is an Arbitration Court exclusively hearing intellectual property matters. The body acts as an Arbitration Court for cases concerning trade-related aspects of intellectual property and as an ad hoc arbitration body for disputes concerning intellectual property rights, and unfair competition. Disputes are settled according to the Statutes of the Arbitration Court on TRIPs, the Regulations and the Tariffs approved by the Chamber of Intellectual Property Development and Protection (CIPDP). In order for the court to have jurisdiction over the parties, contractual agreements between them must include an arbitration clause.

Patents

Patentable Inventions

Patents shall be granted for inventions in any field of technology, which are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application. However, the following shall NOT be regarded as inventions:

  1. Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
  2. The results of artistic works;
  3. Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
  4. Presentation of information.

The human body at the different stages of its formation and development, as well as the mere discovery of an element thereof, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, cannot be considered as patentable inventions. However, an element isolated from the human body or otherwise obtained through a technical process, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, may constitute a patentable invention, even if the structure of such element is identical with that of a natural element.

Exceptions to Patentability

Patents shall not be granted for:

  1. Inventions the commercial use of which would be contrary to social order or
    Morality, including:
    (a) Methods of cloning human beings;
    (b) Methods of altering the genetic identity of human embryos;
    (c) Use of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes;
    (d) Methods of modifying the genetic identity of animals, where this may cause
    Them suffering without any substantial use from a medical point of view for
    Humans or animals, as well as of animals obtained by such methods;

Relevant legal framework: Patent Law, Promulgated in State Gazette No. 27/02.04.1993, in force as from 01.06.1993, supplemented by No. 83/01.10.1996, in force as from 01.11.1996, amended by No. 11/29.01.1998, amended by No. 81/14.09.1999, in force as from 15.12.1999, amended by No. 45/30.04.2002, amended by No. 66/09.07.2002, in force as from 09.07.2002.
Regulations on the Secret Patents, Government Decree No 175/09.09.93, State Gazette No 81/93.
Regulations for Industrial Property Representatives, Government Decree No 137/15.07.93, State Gazette No 65/1993, amend. State Gazette No 36/94 and No 41/97

  1. Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by therapy or surgery, as well as
    Diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body. This shall not apply to
    Products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of these methods;

  2. Plant or animal varieties;

  3. Essentially what constitutes biological processes for obtaining plants and animals.

Right to File an Application

The right to file an application belongs to the inventor or to his successor in title. Where the right to file belongs to two or more persons, they will exercise it jointly. The refusal of one or more such persons to participate in the filing procedure or in the patent granting procedure will not prevent the others from carrying out the acts set out in this Law. The applicant will be considered to have the right to file unless otherwise decided in court proceedings.

The right to file an application in respect of a service invention (an invention made in the course of performance of duties under an employment relationship or other legal relationship of the inventor) belongs to the employer if he files an application within three months of the date of being notified of the invention by the inventor. If he does not do so, the right to file shall go to the inventor. The right to file may belong jointly to the employer and the inventor if contractually agreed.

Where an invention is made on a contractual basis, the right to file belongs to the commissioning person, unless otherwise provided in the contract.

Right to a Patent

The right to a patent belongs to the person who has the right to file an application. If two or more persons file applications for the same invention at different times, the right to the patent belongs to the person who was first to file. If two or more persons file independently of each other patent applications for the same invention and with the same filing date or priority date, as appropriate, the right to a patent belongs to each of them.

Application

The application for registering an invention and granting patent protection is submitted to the Bulgarian Trademark and Patent Office by the persons which, according the Patent Law, have right to apply for the patent.

As a rule, the patent application must be in the Bulgarian language. Where the applicant is foreign, additional documents may be filed in the foreign language, however, they must be accompanied by Bulgarian translations. The patent application should be filed in the form available at the Patent and Trademark Office. Applications and all accompanying documents must be typed, as hand written documents are accepted only in rare circumstances.

The state fee for filing a patent application is 40 Leva (about 20 Euro), and for each patent claim, following the tenth, an additional 16 Leva must be paid.

If the applicant requires legal assistance for compiling and filing a patent application, the applicant can use a Bulgarian patent attorney. If the application is filed through a patent attorney, the applicant must execute a Power of Attorney authorizing the patent attorney to act on their behalf before the Patent and Trademark Office. Foreign Applicants must be represented by Bulgarian Patent Attorney or the Attorney at Law in front of the Bulgarian PTO.

The Patent and Trademark Office will only accept and assign a priority date to applications which include the following initial documents and data:
* Applicant’s name, origin, address, phone, fax, telex, sex, age;
* Where the Applicant is not the Inventor, the Inventor’s name, origin, address, phone, fax, telex, sex, age;
* Name of the invention and description of the invention, revealing at least its subject.

If not already done so, the following additional documents must be filed within 3 months of the date of application:

  • One or more claims;
  • Schemes, if necessary;
  • An essay;
  • If priority is claimed, the declaration and priority certificate; for PCT applications, the number and date of application;
  • An executed Power of Attorney in the required form, authorizing the Patent Attorney to represent the Applicant and listing the object of protection;
  • Payment of state fees.

Registration Procedure

First, the Patent and Trademark Office will conduct a formal examination to ensure that the patent application complies with all formal requirements. If so, then the Patent and Trademark Office will accept the application for processing and the applicant will be notified of the filing date and the application number.

During substantive examination, the Patent and Trademark Office will examine the application for novelty, in compliance with the requirements specified in the Bulgarian Patent Law. There is a 12 month window for novelty. Applications are to be published 18 months from filing date/priority claimed. The publication grants only temporary protection. This protection will ultimately either be granted or cancelled by the PTO. Within three months following the publication any person may file written substantiated objections concerning the patentability of the subject matter of the application. The objecting persons may not be participants in the application proceedings. Assuming nobody objects to the application, the patent will be registered 12 months, following the date of application.

The maximum term of protection for a patent is 20 years from the filing date. IN order to maintain the patent right, an annuity must be paid.

Utility Models

The Patent Law also provides for protection of utility models (“small inventions”). Regulations governing patents are applicable, in their entirety to utility models although there may be some additional requirements. A patent for a utility model protects constructively technical solutions. A review of the practice of the Patent and Trademark Office shows a broad interpretation of what can be protected by a patent for a utility model. Basically the same kind of inventions that are protected by regular patents can be protected as utility models, with the exception of inventions in the field of biotechnology. However, inventions protected as utility models are not required to have such a high inventive level.

Right to file an application

The right to apply for the registration of a utility model belongs to the inventor, in cases where the right to file an application belongs to two or more persons it shall be exercised jointly.
In cases where the invention is made in the course of fulfilling a contractual or work assignment, the right to apply for the registration of a utility model shall belong to the person indicated in the specific contract or employment contract.

Application procedure

An application for a utility model registration should be filed with the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office, and should include:
* A request for registration;
* A description of the utility model;
* Drawings, if needed;
* Claims;
* An Abstract;
* A document certifying payment of the filing and examination fee;
* A Power of Attorney, where the application is filed through an industrial property representative;


Relevant legal framework: Patent Law, Promulgated in State Gazette No. 27/02.04.1993, in force as from 01.06.1993, supplemented by No. 83/01.10.1996, in force as from 01.11.1996, amended by No. 11/29.01.1998, amended by No. 81/14.09.1999, in force as from 15.12.1999, amended by No. 45/30.04.2002, amended by No. 66/09.07.2002, in force as from 09.07.2002.
Regulations on the Secret Patents, Government Decree No 175/09.09.93, State Gazette No 81/93.
Regulations for Industrial Property Representatives, Government Decree No 137/15.07.93, State Gazette No 65/1993, amend. State Gazette No 36/94 and No 41/97

  • A priority declaration and a priority certificate, where priority is claimed;
  • A declaration as to the true inventor and for establishing the right to file, where the applicant is not the inventor.

    All documents must be submitted in the Bulgarian language. The description, drawings, claims and abstract must be filed in two copies. If the documents are filed in a language other than Bulgarian, the filing date may be maintained if Bulgarian translations are filed within three months of that date. This term is not extendable.

The application will be subject to a formal examination. The applicant will be informed of any deficiencies and given one month within which to correct them.

Registration

An application that satisfies formal requirements will be submitted for substantive examination. The application must contain:
1. name and address of the inventor
2. a declaration as to the true inventor
3. name and address of the industrial property representative, if any;
4. data concerning the priority claim – number, date and country of the priority document;
5. Declaration with data identifying the patent application.
Furthermore, the utility model as disclosed in the application must be considered susceptible of industrial application; and must be patentable, under the Patent Law.

Provided that the application meets all substantive requirements, and all fees are duly paid, a decision shall be taken within 14 days to register the utility model, and it shall be recorded in the State Register of Utility Models.

Term of Protection

A utility model registration is valid for 4 years from the application date. It may be extended by two consecutive three-year periods. The total term of validity may not exceed 10 years as of the filing date of the application.

Trademarks

Scope of protection

Under the Bulgarian Law on Marks and Geographical Indications a “mark” is a sign that is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and can be represented graphically. Such signs may be words, including names of persons, or letters, numerals, drawings, figures, the shape of goods or of their packaging, a combination of colors, sound signals or any combination of such elements.

The scope of legal protection of a trademark is determined by the reproduction of the trademark and the specification of goods and services to which the trademark applies.

Application procedure

Applications for the registration of marks must be filed with the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office, either directly or by facsimile. Where the application is filed by facsimile, the original copy must be received by the Patent and Trademark Office within one month.

All foreign applicants must be represented before the PTO by a Bulgarian Patent Attorney. Residents of Bulgaria may file applications personally.

All applications must contain:
* Request for registration;
* The list of goods and/or services and the relevant classes under the international classification system;
* Power of Attorney, if the application is filed through a representative;
* Priority document, if there is a priority claim;
* Document certifying payment of fees;
* Further copies of the mark representation;
* Rules for the use of collective or certification marks, where the application relates to such a mark.


Relevant legal framework: Law on Marks and Geographical Indications, State Gazette No 81/99, in force from 15.12.1999, amend. State Gazette No 82/99.
Regulations on the Drafting, Filing and Examination of Applications for the Registration of Marks and Geographical Indications, State Gazette No 9/2000.
Regulations for Industrial Property Representatives, Government Decree No 137/15.07.93, State Gazette No 65/1993, amend. State Gazette No 86/94 and No 41/97.
Regulations on the Border Measures for the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights, Government Decree No 249/27.11.2000, State Gazette No 98/2000.

All documents must be submitted in Bulgarian. Foreign applicants may submit supporting documents in a foreign language, however, they should be accompanied by translations into Bulgarian.

Every application is examined by the Formal Examination Department for compliance with the technical provisions of the Law on Marks and Geographical indications. If the application meets these requirements, its incoming number and filing date are recorded in the incoming register of mark applications and then marked on the application itself. An application bearing a filing date is examined at the Formal Examination department as to whether the applicant and application meets the requirements of the Law on Marks and Geographical indications. In the case of deficiencies, the applicant is accordingly notified and allowed three months within which to remedy them.
Provided that the application meets all formal requirements, a substantive examination will be conducted by the Marks and Geographical Indications Department. Marks are examined both on Absolute and Relative grounds. If the application does not meet the requirements the applicant will be allowed three months to object. If the Applicant fails to respond or makes an ill-founded objection the decision to reject the registration will be taken.
In case when, as a result of the substantive examination, mark complies with the provisions of the Law on Marks and Geographical Indications, the Applicant is notified and allowed one month to pay the registration, certificate issue and publication fees. If the prescribed fees are paid within this term, the decision is taken to register the mark. This decision contains also the registration number of the mark as recorded in the State Register of Marks.

Term of protection

The registered trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of it’s entering into the Register of Trademarks. The registration may be renewed for an unlimited number of further ten-year periods.

Community Trademarks

On January 1, 2007 Bulgaria became a member of the European Union. As such, EU Community Trademarks (CTMs) are automatically extended to Bulgaria. From this date, CTMs registered and applied for pursuant to the CTMR (Community Trademark Regulations) before the date of Bulgarian accession have the same effect in Bulgaria as they do in the rest of the community. CTM holders do not need to file a new application, or pay additional fees for protection of their trademarks in Bulgaria. On certain grounds, there is the right to restrict use of the CTM in the territory of the new member state. Holders of earlier rights in Bulgaria, provided that such rights were properly registered, applied for or acquired in good faith prior to the date of accession, may be able to prevent the use of trademarks which are the subject of extended CTM’s. Also, all CTM applications filed between July 1st, 2006 and December 31st, 2006 can be subject to oppositions based on earlier rights in the new Member States.

Geographical Indications

Geographical indications are applied to goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are attributable to that place of origin.

A name cannot be registered as a geographical indication where:
* It has become a generic name in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria to denote goods of a certain kind without any association with the place of production thereof;
* It is identical to the name of a plant variety or an animal breed registered earlier, where users are likely to be misled as to the true origin of the goods;
* It is identical with a geographical indication or mark registered earlier for identical goods;
* It is identical or similar to a geographical indication or mark registered earlier for identical or similar goods, where users are liable to be misled.

Right to file an application

The right to file an application belongs to any person who carries on his production activity in the geographical locality indicated, provided that the goods he produces conform to the properties or peculiarities concerned.

Right of a user

Only the person registered as the user can use a registered geographical indication. The registered user may use the geographical indication only in respect of the goods for which it is registered. He may affix it to the goods or their packaging or use it in advertising material, business papers concerning the goods and other material.


Relevant legal framework: Law on Marks and Geographical Indications, State Gazette No 81/99, in force from 15.12.1999, amend. State Gazette No 82/99.
Regulations on the Drafting, Filing and Examination of Applications for the Registration of Marks and Geographical Indications, State Gazette No 9/2000.
Regulations for Industrial Property Representatives, Government Decree No 137/15.07.93, State Gazette No 65/1993, amend. State Gazette No 86/94 and No 41/97.
Regulations on the Border Measures for the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights, Government Decree No 249/27.11.2000, State Gazette No 98/2000.

Application procedure

An application for the registration of a geographical indication must be filed with the Patent and Trademark Office and must contain:
* The registration and/or user entry request form;
* The name and address of applicant;
* The appellation of origin or the indication of source
* The designation of the goods
* The designation of the borders of the geographical locality;
* An account of the recognized properties or peculiarities of the goods and their relationship with the geographical environment or geographical origin.
The application should be accompanied by a document issued by the municipality concerned certifying that the applicant carries on his production activity in the geographical locality concerned.

Any person entitled to file applications may file an application for entry as a user of a registered geographical indication. His application should contain:
* The request for entry;
* The name and address of the applicant;
* The geographical indication and the registration number thereof.

The application should be accompanied by a document issued by the municipality, certifying that the applicant carries on his production activity in the geographical locality concerned, and also by a document issued by the central authority, certifying that the goods produced by the applicant possess the necessary properties and peculiarities characteristic of the geographical indication.

Industrial Design

Application procedure

Applications must be filed with the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office, either directly or by facsimile. Where the application is filed by facsimile, the original copy must be received by the Patent and Trademark Office within one month.

An application may relate to one or to several designs. When the application relates to several designs, it must be associated with the same class under the International Classification of Industrial Designs, Locarno Agreement, or the same set of articles, or the same composition of articles.

Required application documentation consists of:
* A request for registration;
* Copies of the design representations;
* A document certifying payment of fees;
* A Power of Attorney, when the application is filed through a representative;
* A priority certificate, where Convention priority is claimed;
* A brief description of the specific features of the design, at the initiative of the applicant.

All documentation must be received in Bulgarian. If it is filed in a language other than Bulgarian, a Bulgarian translation must be filed within three months.

The applications filed with the Patent and Trademark Office are subject to formal examination, and provided they meet the requirements, they will be accorded a filing date.

Substantive examination is carried out within one year of the filing date and has several stages:
* Assessment of whether the design applied for is excluded from protection;
* Search and assessment as to whether the design is new and not identical with a design of another person;
* Analysis of the results;
* Decision to register or refuse registration of the design.


Relevant legal framework: Law on Industrial Designs, State Gazette No 81/99, in force from 15.12.1999.
Regulations on the Drafting, Filing and Examination of Applications for the Registration of Industrial Designs, State Gazette No 9/2000.
Regulations on the Border Measures for the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights, Government Decree No 249/27.11.2000, State Gazette No 98/2000.
When the substantive examiner considers that the design, or designs in the case of multiple applications, meet the requirements, and can be registered, he notifies the applicant and gives him one month to pay registration fees. This term may not be extended. Upon payment of the registration fees, the decision is taken to register the design and record it in the State Register of Industrial Designs. Registration is valid for the period of 10 years following the filing date of the application. It may be renewed for three successive periods of 5 years.

From January 1st, 2007, Community designs protected or applied for pursuant to the Community Design Registrations before the date of accession have been extended to the territory of Bulgaria in order to have equal effects throughout the Community. In other words, any RCD registered or applied for before the accession of Bulgaria was automatically extended to the new enlarged territory of the European Union, without any need to make an application or pay fees.

Topographies of Integrated Circuits

Scope of protection

Under Bulgarian Law on Topographies of Integrated Circuits, protection will be afforded to an original topography that is the result of its creator’s intellectual efforts and is not commonplace among the creators of topographies and manufacturers of integrated circuits at the time of its creation. In cases where the topography consists of a combination of known elements and their interconnections, it will be protected only if it fulfills the above-mentioned conditions. The legal protection of topography cannot be extended to the techniques used to manufacture the integrated circuit in which the topography is embodied or to the information stored in it.

When an application satisfies the requirements of the Law on Topographies on Integrated Circuits, the topography will be recorded in the State Register of Topographies. The Patent and Trademark Office issues a certificate of registration in the name of the owner and publishes the registration in the Official Bulletin of the Patent and Trademark Office.

The protection of topography is effective either:

  • From the date of the first commercial exploitation of the topography by the applicant anywhere in the world provided that an application is duly filed with the Patent and Trademark Office within two years of that date;
  • From the date of filing an application with the Patent and Trademark Office in accordance with the Law, provided that the topography has not yet been commercially exploited or has only been exploited confidentially.

The protection will be terminated after ten years after the end of the calendar year during which it has become effective.


Relevant legal framework: Law on Topography of Integrated Circuits, State Gazette No 81/99, in force from 15.12.1999.
Regulations for Industrial Property Representatives, Government Decree No 137/15.07.93, State Gazette No 65/1993, amend. State Gazette No 86/94 and No 41/97.

New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds

Scope of protection
This matter, in Bulgaria, is regulated by Law on protection of New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds. The provisions of this law apply to:
* Created or discovered and developed, plant varieties of any botanical genus and species, including clone, line, hybrid and rootstock, irrespective of the method (artificial or natural) of their production;
* Created or discovered and developed, breeds, lines or hybrids of farm animals, irrespective of the method of their production.
The authorities that participate in the procedure of securing the legal protection of the new varieties and breeds are: The State Variety Commission and The State Breed Commission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry and The Patent and Trademark Office.

Right to Authorship
The person who has created or discovered and developed, a plant variety or animal breed is The Author (breeder) of this plant variety or animal breed. His right is personal, term less and not transferable. The author, or co-authors in cases where there are more than one, has the right to be identified as such in the application, in the certificate and in publications on the variety or the breed.

Legal protection of Plant Varieties
In order to gain legal protection a plant variety must be:
* New – At the date of filing the application for a certificate, the same or propagating material of the variety, has not been offered for sale or otherwise used commercially in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for not more than one year, or in the territory of any other country for not more than 6 years when concerning trees or vines and 4 years when concerning any other plant species.
* Distinct – Clearly differs from any other variety which is a variety of common knowledge by the date of filing the application with the Patent and Trademark Office.
* Homogeneous – Irrespective of the presence of minor deviations, the plants are identical in their basic features, including the peculiarities of their sexual or vegetative reproduction.


Relevant legal framework: Law on the Protection of New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds, State Gazette No 84/96, in force from 04.01.1997, amend. No 27/98, amend. No 81/99, amend. No 86/2000.
Regulations No 31 of 10.12.1996 for Intellectual Property Representatives, State Gazette No 108/96.

  • Stable – Remains unchanged in terms of its basic features after multiple reproduction (propagation) or, if the breeder has defined a peculiar propagation cycle for the variety bred, and at the end of each cycle the variety has kept conformity to the description specified for it.

The application for a plant variety is filed with the Patent and Trademark Office and is recorded in the Variety Application Register.

For each application for a certificate, the State Commission undertakes an examination within a period of two to four years in order to establish whether the plant variety is new, distinct, homogeneous and stable. This time limit can be prolonged upon applicants request.

Term of Validity
The legal protection of a variety is provided by a certificate, which certifies the existence of a registered plant variety, the priority, the right to authorship and the exclusive right of the certificate owner on the variety.
The certificate is granted by the Patent Office after an expert examination of the variety — object of the application. It has a duration limit as from its date of grant:

  1. 30 years for tree and vine varieties;
  2. 25 years for all other varieties.

Legal protection of animal breeds
The application for an Animal Breed Certificate is filed with the Patent and Trademark Office, whereupon it is examined by the State Breed Commission in accordance with its Work Regulations:

During substantive examination, the State Commission studies and analyses:
* Breeding purpose;
* Brief characteristics of the initial breeds;
* Description of the methods for the creation of the breeds;
* Productive qualities and morphological features of the breeds;
* Adaptability and resistance against diseases;
* Number, race and genealogical structure;
* Region of distribution.
After a decision is taken for the recognition of the breed, the State Breed Commission submits within one month to the Patent and Trademark Office its report, the formalized description, the abstract and a copy of the decision for recognition of the breed, notifying the breeder to pay the due fees to the Patent and Trademark Office. The legal protection of animal breeds, provided by certificate, is valid for 30 years from the date of its grant.

Term of Validity
The legal protection of animal breeds is provided by a certificate, which has a duration of 30 years from the date of its grant.

Copyright

Under the Bulgarian Law on Copyright and Related Rights the proper subject for copyright is any work of literature, art or science, which is a result of creative activities and is expressed in an manner and in any form.
Works that cannot be the subject of copyright, include legislative enactments by government bodies, ideas and concepts, works of folklore, current news, facts, information and data.
The Author is person whose creative endeavors have resulted in the creation of a literary, artistic or scientific work. Until otherwise is proved, the author of a work will be deemed to be the person whose name or other identifying mark is shown in the customary manner on the literary, artistic or scientific work.
There are two types of rights under copyright: economic rights, which allow the owner of rights to derive financial reward from the use of his works by others, and moral rights, which allow the author to take certain actions to preserve the personal link between himself and the work.
Another important feature of the Bulgarian Law on copyright and Related rights is that it protects what is called “derivative works”. These works are those that are derived from other, pre-existing sources such as the:

  • Right that performing artists have in their performances;
  • Right that producers of phonograms have in their recordings;
  • Right that a producer of an initial recording or a film or other audiovisual work has in the original copy, as well as in the copies produced as a result of such recording;
  • Right that radio and television organizations possess in their programs.

Under Bulgarian Copyright Law such “derivative rights” may not be exercised in a manner which might result in infringing or restricting copyright.

Term of Protection

Copyright is protected for the lifetime of the author plus seventy years. For works created by two or more authors, this term begins upon the death of the last surviving co-author.


Relevant legal framework: Copyright and Related Rights Act, June 1993, as amended 1994, 1998 and 2000.
Regulation of Council of Ministers No. 87 of 1996 on Control of the Use of Subject Matter of Copyright and Related Rights and Licensing of the Manufacturers of Compact Disks and Matrix, April 1996, as last amended in April 1997, February and July 1998.

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