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Bulgaria: Law on Amendments to the Law on Patents and Utility Models Registration (SG No. 92/2020)

October 27, 2020

Bulgaria: The Law on Amendments to the Law on Patents and Utility Models Registration (SG No. 92/2020) entered into force on October 27, 2020.

The Law introduces amendments primarily to the Law on Patents and Utility Models Registration, the Law on the Protection of New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds, the Law on Topography of Integrated Circuits, the Law on Industrial Designs, and the Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications.

The amendments relate, inter alia, to the following:

(i) introducing new rules and requirements for industrial property representatives in the field of patents, and other IP rights before the Bulgarian Patent Office, with significance especially for foreign practitioners;

(ii) establishing rules for the submission of documents and correspondence through the portal for electronic services of the Patent Office in proceedings concerning patents, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, circuit topographies, plant varieties and animal breeds;

(iii) excluding from patentability plants and animals obtained by essentially biological process, in addition to the existing exclusion from patentability of those processes;

(iv) reducing the time period for reinstatement of expired patents due to unforeseen circumstances from 3 months to 1 month after the resolution of the circumstances, but not more than 3 months from the original expiration date of the patent; and

(v) abolishing the requirement to file separate requests for search and substantive examination of patent applications and their associated fees within 13 months from the filing or priority date, and requiring the payment of the respective fees together with publication fees to be processed before the filing date.