Industrial designs

Industrial design

What is industrial design?

According to Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Bulgarian Industrial Design Act, the design is the visible appearance of a product or part of it, defined by the peculiarities of the form, lines, contours, ornaments, color or combination of them. A product is an article produced by industrial or craft way, including parts intended to be assembled in a composite article, sets or composition of articles, packaging, graphic symbols and printed fonts except for computer programs.

Acquiring of right over design on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria

Right over a design shall be acquired through its registration at the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria from the date of filing of the application for registration.  It is important to note that registered shall be a design that is new and original. The Bulgarian Industrial Design Act gives a definition of novelty and originality. The design shall be new if before the date of filing of the application, respectively before the date of priority, another identical design is not known to have become publicly available through publications, use, registrations or disclosure in any other way anywhere in the world. The designs shall be considered identical if their peculiarities differ only in insignificant elements. The design shall be considered original if the overall impression it creates on the informed user differs from the overall impression created by a design that has become publicly available prior to the date of the submission of the application for registration or if priority is claimed, before the date of priority. The extent of the freedom of the designer shall be taken into account at an assessment of the originality.

A design contradicting with the public order or good morals shall not be registered. A design whose peculiarities are grounded solely on the technical function of the product shall not be registered as well. A design whose peculiarities are grounded on the need the product in which is included or to which the design has been applied to be mechanically connected or put into, around or opposite to another product so that both the products may perform their functions, except a design, aimed at allowing the multiple assembling or connection of mutually interchangeable products within a modular system shall also not be registered.

The duration of the registration of a design is ten years from the date of filing of the application for registration. The registration shall be possible to be renewed for three subsequent periods of five years.

Right of authorship. Right to file and right to the registration

The person who created the design has the right of authorship. This right is not transferable. When the design has been created by two or more persons, the right to authorship occurs to all of them and they shall be co-authors. Co-authors shall not be persons who have rendered merely technical, material or other assistance to the author.

The right to file a design shall belong to the author or his legal successor. When the right to file belongs to several persons, it shall be exercised jointly. When the design is official, the right to file belongs to the employer or to the person who made the order. When the design is official the right to file passes to the author if in three months term after the notification in writing about the created design the employer does not submit an application for registration unless otherwise agreed between them. The right to file may belong jointly to the employer, respectively the orderer and the author of this has been agreed. The right to registration shall belong to the first applicant.

Official design

The design is official when it has been created in the performance of obligations under an employment contract or as order, unless in the contract otherwise has been agreed. The author, who has created the official design is entitled to additional remuneration. The remuneration of the author can be determined in several ways: as part of the incomes generated from the use of design as a lump sum or in another way. If the remuneration determined as a lump sum is obviously disproportional to the incomes received from the use of the design, the author may require an increase of the remuneration. If no agreement is reached between the parties, the dispute shall be resolved by the court.

Scope of the legal protection

The scope of legal protection shall be determined by the image, respectively the images of the registered design and shall cover every design that does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression.

The right over a design shall include the right of its owner to use the design, to dispose of with it as well as to prohibit to third parties without his consent to copy or use in their commercial activity a design included in the scope of the protection. The use of the design includes the production, offering and exhibiting on the market or the use of a product in which is included or which has been attached a design of the scope of protection as well as import, export or preservation of the same product for these purposes. The right over a design shall have effect with regard to third good faith persons from the date of publishing the registration of the design.

Possession of the right over a design

 The right over a design shall be possible to belong to one or more persons. When the right over a design belongs to two or more persons any co-owner shall be able to use it without the consent of the other and without accounting for this before them unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Previous use

 A person who until the date of submitting an application for registration of a design has used in

good faith the design on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria or who has made the necessary preparations for this shall have the right to use it to the same extent after this date.


The right over-design can be transferred. If the right over design is owned by two or more persons it shall be transferred with the written consent of all co-owners. The owner of the right over a design shall be able to permit the use of the design with a license agreement. Permission for the use of a design which is joint ownership of two or more persons shall be permitted with the written consent of all the co-owners unless otherwise agreed between them. The license can be exclusive or non-exclusive. The holder of an exclusive license has no right to grant licenses on the same subject to other persons. He has the right to use the design only if this is explicitly agreed upon.

The right over registered industrial design can be subject to a special pledge. When multiple applications as an object to special pledge can be granted the right to all or some of the designs. The right over registered industrial design shall be included in the bankruptcy estate at a formed procedure for insolvency of his owner.



Legal Disclaimer: This material prepared by Krasimira Kadieva aims to provide information about the industrial designs. It does not constitute a legal opinion and cannot be interpreted as individual consultation on any concrete facts or circumstances. The advice of a legal specialist should be obtained for specific questions and situations. For more information on the above-mentioned issues and individual consultations, please contact Krasimira Kadieva at 00359 882 308 670 or make an inquiry using the contact form of this website.

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