Bulgarian Company Cannot Register Design Similar to Bic Lighter 3D Trademark
On January 19, 2012, Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) upheld Bulgarian Patent Office’s (BPO) decision to cancel the registration of the industrial design ‘Lighter’, owned by AXXON Bulgaria, a Sofia-based company specialized in the marketing, distribution, and logistics of fast moving consumer goods.
According to the BPO, the design did not fulfill the novelty and originality requirements, as it did not differ substantially from the well-known lighter registered as an international three-dimensional trademark by Societe Bic, a disposable product maker based in France.
AXXON Bulgaria filed an appeal at the Sofia City Court (SCC), which overruled BPO’s decision after several experts concluded that the AXXON Bulgaria’s design was substantially different from Societe Bic’s design.
The SAC, however, ruled that the experts’ conclusion was contradictory and ruled that the design in question does not substantially differ from the registered three-dimensional trademark and therefore does not create a different overall impression. The SAC ruled that the design did not fulfill the novelty and originality requirements and that it should be cancelled according to Article 45, Paragraph 3 of the Law on Industrial Design. The SAC cancelled the SCC decision and upheld the one of the BPO. The decision of the SAC is final and not subject to appeal.
Prepared by: Valeri Penev
For more information, please contact Valeri Penev at our Bulgaria office.
Source: Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC)
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