Answer ... Unregistered trademarks enjoy some limited protection. The holder of an unregistered trademark that is used in the course of trade in the territory of Bulgaria for identical or similar goods can oppose a later filed trademark. In order to be permitted to file an opposition:
- the holder of the unregistered mark must apply for the mark to be registered; and
- the use of the earlier mark in trade must continue up to the filing of the opposition.
The use must be proven in the opposition proceedings.
Some protection is also afforded by Bulgarian trademark law for other names which are not registered trademarks – for example, earlier company names which have been used as trademarks in relation to identical or similar goods and services.
There can also be protection for well-known marks in the territory of Bulgaria under the Paris Convention – this status must be determined in court or by the BPO during the relevant administrative procedure.
In addition, the owner of a trademark can oppose a new trademark which has been registered in bad faith (bad faith must be proven in court).
Separately, the holders of unregistered trademarks can ask the Commission for Protection of Competition to fine any infringers based on the unfair competition provisions in Bulgarian law.
Answer ... The trademark owner has the right to prohibit third parties from using in the course of trade an identical or similar trademark in relation to identical or similar goods and services; and where the earlier right has a reputation, also in relation to goods and services that are not identical or similar.