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Bulgarian Patent Office introduces changes in the designation of goods and services when filing an application for trademark

21 March 2013

Dear Sirs,

"Manev & Partners" informs of upcoming changes in the practice of Bulgarian Patent Office. Changes will affect the applications for trademarks and more precisely the designation of goods and services in the application. Currently, the relevant agencies from EU apply various approaches to defining the scope of legal protection when registering trademarks and pointing the terms of the headings in the classes of Nice Classification. The majority of them apply the approach that the class title means and covers exactly what it says. According to this understanding, the cited term shall not cover more than what is pointed within its meaning. However, some offices, including BPO, provide protection for all goods and services included in the alphabetical list of the class.

These different interpretations raise difficulties and cause confusion among applicants, submitting applications to various agencies, as the same list of goods and services may be interpreted differently. Different approaches lead to legal uncertainty and lack of predictability in the case of claiming priority, seniority, suspension, cancellation, examination and opposition proceedings. 

European Court of Justice in its judgment in Case C-307/10, has ruled in terms of standards for clarity and precision, to be applied in respect of classification of goods and services when filing application for trademark registration. Part of the above mentioned decision is that the protection will be granted only for goods and services that are explicitly mentioned. However, where complete protection is sought, it should be stated that "the request is applied to all goods /services listed in the alphabetical order of this class". In the cases when the applicant doesn't explicitly specify it, the protection will be provided only for "what is specifically stated".

The change will not affect the filed applications and registered trademarks before 01.03.2013. In this case, the interpretation would be that when the class title is specified, the protection is granted for all the goods and services listed in it. For all applications filed after that date

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