Time limit extensions within the proceedings before the Bulgarian Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office


I. Proceedings before the Bulgarian Patent Office:

According to Art. 3, items 2 and 3 of the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Act (the “Act”) (prom. SG 28 of 24.03.2020, entered into force on 13.03.2020), the following time limits are suspended for the period from 13 March 2020 until cancellation of the state of emergency:

  • limitation periods and other time limits provided for in statutory acts, with the expiry of which, rights would lapse or terminate, or obligations would arise for private entities;
  • time limits for fulfilment of instructions given by an administrative authority to parties or participants in the respective proceedings.

In this regard, during the above period (from 13 March 2020 until the end of the state of emergency) time limits related to industrial property objects proceedings before the Patent Office shall be suspended as well.

It is important to mention that all procedural terms relating to registrations of trademarks, utility models and industrial designs, patents, certificates of supplementary protection and certificates of a new variety/animal breed, which expire during the state of emergency, shall be extended by 1 (one) month as of cancellation of the state of emergency, according to Art. 4, item 2 of the Act.

By Order № 264 of 10.03.2020 of the Chairman of the Patent Office and in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, access to the Patent Office building was restricted while inquiries and information on services, state fees and documents filing numbers, will only be handled over the telephone. Access to the files of the industrial property objects is also temporarily suspended.

The next issue of the Official Journal will be released on 15 April 2020.

II. Proceedings before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”):

By Decision № EX-20-3 of the Executive Director of EUIPO of 16.03.2020, all time limits related to proceedings before the EUIPO, which expire in the period between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive, shall be extended until 1 May 2020. EUIPO has issued clarifications in order to provide users with further guidance on the term “all time limits”.

(i) Which time limits are affected by the extension?

  • time limits set by any instance of EUIPO, in any proceedings before the EUIPO, including its Boards of Appeal;
  • time limits imposed directly by the EUTMR, the EUTMIR, etc.
  • time limits set by the Paris Convention or other International Treaties.

Specific examples of statutory time limits covered by the extension were given – i.e. payment of the application fee, right of priority, opposition period, request for renewal of registration, etc.

EUIPO will not individually inform applicants or other parties about the grant of the extension by means of individual communications.

For more information, please contact:

Ilya Komarevski, Partner

Mirela Hristova, Associate