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Once the application is filed the applicant is not allowed to make any changes in the mark.
An individual filing a trademark application in Bulgaria should be aware that depending on the sign the law recognizes the following types of marks:
- word marks consist of words, including names of individuals, composition of words, digits etc.
- figurative marks are pictures, graphical elements or images (without word elements)
- three-dimensional marks consist of the form of the goods or the packaging thereof
- tracer marks consist of two or more color combinations
- sound marks – sounds, jingles, melodies or other tunes or noises
- combined marks consist of word and/or figurative elements and/or colors; combined mark is also a word mark with specific graphical way of writing.
Stages for obtaining trademark registration in Bulgaria.
Filing of Trademark Application in Bulgaria
A. The trademark registration in Bulgaria is initiated through the filing of an application with BPO which must contain, inter alia, the following:
the applicant’s name and address;representation of the mark;list of the goods and services for which the applicant is seeking registration;collective and certificate marks shall include their exploitation guidelines;receipt certifying the payment of the administrative fees for registration.
In case the applicant is a legal entity its duly authorized representative shall place the company stamp and sign the application.
Formal and Substantive Examination of the Trademark Application
B. Within two months from filing the application, the BPO subjects the application to a formal examination for compliance with the provision of the Marks and Geographical Indications Act.
For example, incorrect listing of the classes, under the Nice Classification of Goods and Service, may constitute non-compliance of the application. In this case, the applicant upon notice of the BPO, is given two months to amend its application.
C. Consequently, within three months of the conclusion of the formal examination, the BPO conducts substantive examination for compliance of the mark. This means that the trademark will not be registered if it, inter alia,:
- lacks distinctiveness
- consists of descriptive terms that must be kept free for general use
- is likely to be confusing for the public
contains state emblems
- is contrary to public policy or the accepted principles of morality.
The above are known as absolute grounds for refusal of the application.
For example, signs will not be registered, if they cannot be represented graphically, if they are not distinctive or if they merely describe the goods and services concerned.
If there are absolute grounds for refusal of the registration, the applicant is informed and provided three months within which to respond.
Publication of the Trademark Application and Opposition Period
D. If the application complies with the above requirements then, within one month of the conclusion of the substantive examination, it is published in the Official Bulletin of the BPO. Within three months of the publication, any third party may file an opposition against the registration based on the absolute grounds for refusal.
Registration of the Trademark in Bulgaria
E. If no opposition is filed within the above three month period of the publication or an opposition is not granted then the applicant is notified to pay the necessary fees to effect the trademark registration in Bulgaria.
The trademark registration procedure set forth herein takes approximately 12 months to complete.