As a member state of the EU, trademark protection in Bulgaria is often achieved through the registration of an European Union Trademark. However, an EUTM may not always be feasible or advantageous. Let's explore some reasons for registering a national Bulgarian trademark.

1. Registering a trademark in Bulgaria is inexpensive. The application and registration fees are much lower than in the EUIPO. Representative fees in Bulgaria can be lower than in the rest of Europe as well.

2. A national Bulgarian trademark can be less vulnerable than a EUTM. An EUTM can be opposed or otherwise attacked on the basis of existing EUTMs and national trademarks from all 27 member states of the EU. Bulgarian trademarks are not affected by national trademarks from other countries.

In addition, Bulgarian trademarks are less vulnerable on absolute grounds. Generally, only the Bulgarian language (with some limited exceptions for popular foreign words) is considered relevant when examining whether the sign is descriptive or otherwise not registrable on absolute grounds.

Therefore, some marks which cannot be registered in the EU could be registrable in Bulgaria, and they could also be less vulnerable to further challenge.

3. A Bulgarian trademark can be registered quickly. The Bulgarian Patent Office has optimised its processes, allowing for registration to be achieved within a comparable timeframe as a EUTM. It should also be noted that as the risk of opposition is lower, the chances of the procedure being delayed on such grounds are also lower.

4. A Bulgarian trademark effectively protects your goods at an important EU customs border. Bulgaria is an external border of the EU and a large amount of commerce comes in through the land border with Turkey, as well as through the ports of Varna and Burgas. A Bulgarian trademark can be the foundation of effective enforcement against knockoffs and illegal imports, using the Bulgarian Customs agency.

5. Bulgarian trademarks cannot be invalidated in civil infringement proceedings. Unlike EUTMs, whose validity can be challenged in a countersuit to infringement proceedings, Bulgarian trademarks can only be invalidated by the Bulgarian Patent Office. This is an independent procedure with its separate timeline, and the mark remains in full force until the procedure is completed. This allows holders of Bulgarian trademarks to be more confident when initiating legal action against infringers.

When choosing a strategy for trademark protection in Bulgaria, it is important to consult an expert in the field and jurisdiction, who can help you make informed and correct decisions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.