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Trademark opposition



    Mr.Atanas Kostov - trademark attorney in Bulgaria. The book "Opposition of the trademark"".


    The book "Opposition of the trademark" reviews the new procedure for refusal of registration on relative grounds, which came into force with the latest amendments to the Law on Marks and Geographical Indications (LPMO) of 10.03.2011. Writing the book aims to make it useful to a wide range of lawyers, patent attorneys, industrial property representatives, commercial subjects, students, and citizens to give more clarity about the opportunities for opposition that the opposition offers. Most of the material in the book is a synthesis of theory and practice, primarily of OHIM and of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, mainly due to a lack of national practice for the time being, this approach being chosen to shed light on the specifics of the procedure not only on a national but also on a European scale. I believe that the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, as set out in detail, with clearly defined legal criteria relating to the opposition, would be directly applicable in practice and law enforcement in Bulgaria, not only because of their priority importance for Bulgarian legislation, but above all in relation to the competent legal opinions they actually offer.

    For the reasons given, the introduction of the opposition procedure, in my opinion, is the result of a positive legislative initiative of the Bulgarian Patent Office. However, the opposition puts forward a number of theoretical and practical issues that will still be looking for its right solution. Dynamically evolving market realities and related legislative processes on a national and European scale have called for modern mechanisms to identify real-life traders in a particular business area, including intellectual property, in particular trademarks. I say this for several reasons. Firstly, because some of the registered trademarks in Bulgaria do not have any real commercial interests, they are registrated for themselves (in most cases for commercial purposes) and should be dropped as unusable for the reasons mentioned. Second, many unscrupulous practices are being monitored, which must be pirated at the trademark registration phase - a claim by the proprietor of the trademark owner, or a misappropriation of trade marks already entered but unregistered. Thirdly, competitive relations require continuous control efforts by applying appropriate legal measures to potential competitors - for example restricting the application of similar trademarks for identical or similar goods and services. Last but not least, the procedure in the Patent Office itself will be optimized by avoiding the subjective factor in the process of expertise, as until now the similarity as a relative ground for trademark denial was followed by a specific expert at the Patent Office, which was the case file of the respective trademark was distributed and this decision depended on his subjective opinion. Thus, marketers will be self-regulators of their own rights with respect to their registered and correspondingly trademarked trademarks, thus giving preference to a more practical and at the same time democratic approach to marketers. All this will, in my opinion, lead to a more efficient work of the Patent Office itself, which will significantly optimize its administrative potential.


    Trademark opposition. Trademark attorney in EUIPO.


    Notice of opposition may be filed within a period of three months following the publication of the Community trade mark application. The official publication date is that which appears on the front cover of the Community Trade Marks Bulletin. The notice of opposition and payment of the opposition fee EUR 350 must be received by the EUIPO within this time limit. 

    EUIPO accepts a notice of opposition against a CTMA that is received by fax and/or post before the CTMA has been published; thus before the commencement of the opposition period. The opposition will be kept on hold and be deemed to have been filed on the first day of the opposition period, namely the first day after the publication of the CTMA in part A1 of the CTM Bulletin. 

    Payments must reach the EUIPO within the time limit specified for filing opposition, which is three months. However, provided that all the steps necessary for effecting payment are taken within this time limit, the Fees Regulation allows for payment to be considered as made on the condition that the following requirements are met: where payment is made by bank transfer, the payment order must have been given within the aforementioned time limit. However, if the payment order has not been made within the last ten days of the time limit specified, a surcharge of 10% will be payable. 

    The EUIPO has published Guidelines concerning the opposition proceedings which attempts to explain in detail the practical application of the provisions of the CTMR and the Implementing Regulation governing opposition proceedings. In addition, a form for filing notice of opposition is available from the Office, containing relevant explanatory annotations.

  • Trademark opposition. Trademark attorney in Bulgaria and EUIPO.


    1.Opposition procedure in Bulgaria. With one of the last amendments of the Trade Mark and Geographical Indications Law (the Bulgarian abbreviation of this act is ZMGO and comes from “Закон за марките и географските означения”) of 26.02.2010 - SG, no. 19 of 2010 26.02.2010, the National Assembly of Republic of Bulgaria adopted an interesting and practically new change in the procedure of registration of trademarks, by introducing the so-called opposition procedure.

    Under the new system of trademark registration, the examination of registration applications will be done on an absolute basis only on absolute grounds.

    If the application submitted meets the requirements of Article 11 of the ZMGO, it will be published in the Official Bulletin of the Patent Office. The new relative grounds for refusal of registration presented in Article 12 of the ZMGO refer to the fact that when an opposition is filed, the trade mark will not be registered if: it is identical to an earlier trade mark and its goods or services are identical to the ones of the earlier mark; because of its identity or similarity to an earlier trade mark and the identity or similarity of the goods or services of the two marks, there is a likelihood of confusion by the consumers, including the possibility of connection with the earlier mark.