Bulgaria-Selected Compulsory Licensing, Government Use, and Notable Patent Exception Provisions

Patent Law (of March 18, 1993)

Chapter II
Patentability of Inventions

(Patentable Inventions)


( 1) Patents shall be granted for inventions which are new, involve an inventive step and are industrially applicable.

(2) The following shall not be regarded as inventions:

1. discoveries, scientific theories and concepts;

2. mathematical methods and formulae;

3. results of artistic work;

4. schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business;

5. programs for computers;

6. presentations of information.

7. Patents shall not be granted for:

1. inventions the publication or exploitation of which would be contrary to social order or morality, provided that the exploitation shall not be deemed to be so contrary merely because it is prohibited by legislation;

2. substances obtained through internal nuclear transformation for military purposes;

3. plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for obtaining them. This provision shall not apply to microbiological methods and the products thereof.

Chapter III

(Limitations on the Effect of a Patent)

20. The effect of a patent shall not extend to:

1. use of the patented invention for non-commercial purposes with a view to private needs, where such use does not cause significant material prejudice to the owner of the patent;

2. use of the invention for experimental or research and development purposes relating to the subject matter of the patented invention;

3. extemporaneous preparation for individual cases in a pharmacy of a medicine in accordance with a medical prescription;

4. use of the invention where it concerns a method for the diagnosis or treatment, including surgical treatment, of human beings or animals, practiced by a physician;

5. use of a product which has been put on the market by the patent owner or with his express knowledge.

insofar as such use is made after the product has been put on the market in the territory of the country;

6. use of the patented invention on board any foreign land vehicle, vessel or aircraft which temporarily or accidentally enters the territory, waters or airspace of the country, provided that the patented invention is used exclusively for the needs of such means of transport.

(Compulsory License)


(1) Any person concerned may request the Patent Office for grant of a compulsory license to work a patented invention provided that at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. failure to use the invention for a period of four years from filing of the application for a patent or of three years from the grant of a patent, the time limit which expires last being applicable;

2. insufficient working of the invention to satisfy the needs of the national market, within the time limits set out in item 1, above, unless the patent owner gives valid reasons therefor;

3. a declared national state of emergency-for its duration.

(2) The person requesting a license under the preceding paragraph shall be required to prove that he is in a position to work the invention within the limits of the compulsory license requested.

(3) A compulsory license may be granted to a patent owner whose invention is included in the scope of another patent, if the owner of that patent refuses to grant a license under fair conditions.

(4) A compulsory license may only be non-exclusive. It may only be assigned together with the enterprise in which the licensed invention is being worked.

(5) A compulsory license may be terminated if within one year of its grant the licensee has made no preparation for working the invention. A compulsory license shall be terminated in all cases if the licensee fails to start working the invention within two years of grant.

(6) A compulsory license shall not be granted to an infringer of the patent.

(7) Bilateral and multilateral treaties to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party may lay down further conditions for the grant of a compulsory license to patent owners from States party to such treaties.

(8) A compulsory license for a secret patent shall be granted by the Council of Ministers at the request of the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Chapter VIII
Patent Office

(Principle Tasks)

80. The Patent Office shall carry out the following principal tasks:

1. examination and decisions in relation to the protection of the subject matter of industrial property;

2. grant patents for inventions and for utility models, certificates for industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, appellations of origin and other documents for the protection of the subject matter of industrial property;

3. consider disputes on examination decisions, invalidation of protection documents and grant and termination of compulsory licenses;

4. invalidation, grant and termination of compulsory licenses and dependence of protection documents;

5. represent the country in the relevant intergovernmental industrial property organizations, ensure fulfillment of the country's obligations, in compliance with the Patent Office's status, regulated by the international agreements, and pursue international cooperation in this field;

6. effect publications and issue a bulletin in accordance with this Law and the international agreements; conduct the international exchange of patent documents; maintain patent files and provide services in the field of patent information and patent searches;

7. issue regulations and instructions within the competence of the Patent Office and propose schedules of fees for the activities and services provided by the Office;

8. maintain the State registers of protected industrial property;

9. manage the Industrial Property Fund to be raised from donations, own finances and other revenue;

10. hold training courses in the field of industrial property and patent activities.