Pursuant to the amendments of the Bulgarian Marks and Geographical Indications Act (MGIA) in force as of 10 March 2011, the old trademark registration procedure has been replaced by the so-called opposition system corresponding to the practice of OHIM.
According to the new system, after filing a trademark application, the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) ex officio carries out an examination as to substance on absolute grounds of refusal only. If the application does not contradict to the absolute grounds, it shall be published in the Official Bulletin of the Patent Office.
Within three months after the publication of the application, oppositions based on relative grounds could be filed by certain persons specified in the law upon payment of opposition fee. With this regard Regulation on Drafting, Filing and Examination of Oppositions according to MGIA, promulgated in State Gazette No. 43/ 7 June 2011, is already in force since 11 June 2011.
The Regulation is adopted pursuant to Art. 38d (11) of MGIA and governs in details the general requirements for filing an opposition and the opposition procedure.
The oppositions are filed before the new Oppositions Department of the Patent Office. Each opposition is examined by Board of Examiners presided by State Examiner.
The decisions of the Oppositions Department can be appealed before the Disputes Department of the Patent Office within three months from the date of receipt. The decisions of the Disputes Department can be further appealed before the court.
The new Regulation applies to trademark applications that are filed or published after 10 March 2011.