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3. Protection against Infringement of IP Rights

3.1. Civil Protection

 

In any case of unlawful use of a patent, trademark, industrial design or geographical indication the rightful owners are entitled to lodge a claim with the competent first-instance court – the Sofia City Court - against the infringer in order to:

 

(i) establish the infringement;

(ii) claim compensation for the damages suffered because of the infringement,

(iii) require the termination of the infringing actions.

(iv) require the seizure and destruction of the products- subject of the infringement

 

The Marks and Geographical Indications Act and the Industrial Designs Act provides explicitly the terms and conditions for determination of the amount of compensation for damages occurred as a result of the infringements.

 

Sofia City Court is the competent first-instance court to rule on disputes on the authorship of inventions, utility models and disputes related to marks and industrial designs

Upon infringement of a right to a mark or infringement of a registered geographical indication or industrial design, or where there is good reason to believe that any such infringement will be committed or some evidence will be lost, destroyed or concealed, the court, acting at the request of the rightful owner or of the exclusive licensee, may furthermore admit some of the following provisional measures without notifying the respondent of this:

 

•          prohibition of performance of any acts which allegedly constitute or will constitute unauthorized use of a mark, geographical indication or industrial design

•          seizure of the goods which allegedly wrongfully bear a registered mark or geographical indication or have allegedly been manufactured by means of copying or using any design within the scope of protection;

•          sealing of the premise in respect of which an infringement is allegedly committed or will be committed.

 

In any case of infringement of a copyright or a neighboring right the rightful owners or, as the case may be, the persons entitled to exclusive rights of use are entitled to lodge a claim with the competent district court against the infringer in order to:

 

•          establish the infringement

•          require the termination of the infringing actions;

•          receive a compensation for the damages suffered because of the infringement. In case the claim’s ground is established but the amount of the damages may not be estimated the above persons may, instead of compensation, receive:

 

o          the value of the subject of infringement calculated on the basis of the retail prices of lawfully reproduced copies; or

o          sum amounting between BGN 500 and BGN 100,000 determined by the court upon its discretion;

 

In determining the amount of the sum to be paid the court shall take into account the proceeds obtained as a result of the violation.

•          require the seizure and destruction of the infringing copies and the equipment exclusively used for their production.

•          require the court decision to be published in two dailies, as well as to be announced at a time determined by the court of a television organization with national coverage.

 

3.2. Administrative Protective Measures

 

The President of the Patent Office is empowered to impose administrative penalties - fines or monetary sanctions between BGN 500 and 5 000 - on infringers of rights of the owners of trademarks or geographical indications.

 

The President of the Patent Office is empowered also to impose administrative penalties on infringers of rights protected by the Patents and Utility Models Act and Industrial Design Act.

 

The administrative penalties on infringers of rights of the owners of copyrights or neighboring rights are imposed by the Minister of Culture or a person authorized by him.

In addition in all cases mentioned above the infringing goods shall be seized, regardless of the ownership thereof, and shall be destroyed.

 

3.3. Foreign Investors Related Measures

 

Foreign authors will enjoy the same rights as Bulgarian authors unless otherwise provided by international treaties and agreements. In case Bulgarian law is applicable to foreign authors or the object of copyright was first created or published in a foreign country, the holder of the right will be determined by the respective foreign law and the term of protection will be the one provided by the foreign law if Bulgarian law provides for a longer period.

 

Foreign individuals and legal entities and all persons with a domicile or seat outside Bulgaria may apply for the registration of a patent, trademark, geographical indication, industrial design only through their local industrial property representatives listed with the Patent Office.

The provisions of Bulgarian law will apply to foreign individuals and legal entities whose respective country of origin is a member to international agreements, to which Bulgaria is a party. To other foreigners Bulgarian laws will apply only in case of reciprocity, which will be established by the Patent Office in case-by-case basis. Where bilateral international agreements exist their provisions will apply.

 

The international registrations of patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty; of trademarks in conformity with the Madrid Agreement; of geographical indications under the Lisbon Agreement; and of industrial designs under the Hague Convention, have the same effect as if the applications were directly lodged and the registrations were made in Bulgaria according to the relevant Bulgarian law.