Bulgarian Patent Office – past and present

The long-awaited European patent with unitary effect (EPUE) will soon become reality, David Sukalinski, Vice-President of the Bulgarian Patent Office predicts

Photo: courtesy of David Sukalinski

The Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria was set up on 4 June 1948 by decree of the Presidium of the National Assembly; until 1993 it was called the Institute of Innovations. There are several milestone events in the office’s 70-year long history. David Sukalinski:

“Without any doubt, one of them is the adoption of the Patent Law of 1993, by force of which patent rights belong to the applicant who fully disposes of the vested monopoly rights. Another important stage was the year 2002, when, on 1 July, Bulgaria became a member of the European Patent Convention. The next milestone was in 2007 with Bulgaria’s entry into the EU, which meant the country could now apply for a certificate for supplementary protection certificates for pharmaceutical and plant protection products. Then there is, of course, the European patent with unitary effect on the territory of the EU, which businesses have eagerly been expecting and which will soon become reality. The Unified Patent Court will be made functional within the space of approximately a year.”

A total of 6,667 patents have been issued since 1993, i.e. since the 1993Patent Law has been in effect. In the period from 1993 until 2006, the patents that weregrantedwere for inventions as well as for utility models. After 2006 the office started issuing patents exclusively for inventions, to this moment a total of 1,743 patents for inventions have been issued, and around 2,088 utility models registered.

“The first patent granted after the Patent Law came into effect was for a method for the group overwintering of queen bees and beehives and its implementation.The patent was issued on 15 June, 1993, with the method providing optimal overwintering conditions at a minimal electric energy and food consumption rate,” David Sukalinski says and adds that around 200-250 patent applications and around 300-350 utility model applications have been submitted to the Patent Office in recent years, the most popular sphere for inventions being mechanical engineering, because that is the direction in which the economy has been evolving. It is interesting to note that many of the inventors are women.

“To us, at the Patent Office, all valid patents, i.e. patents with renewal fees paid, are in fact inventions put into practice,” says David Sukalinski in answer to a question how many patents are in effect in Bulgaria. “At this time there are 811 patents that are valid, of which 355 have Bulgarian patent holders. I would like to add the utility models – 1,236 in number, of which 1,177 belong to Bulgarian patent holders.”

Every invention is of interest to experts in the respective field, as it is, in itself a technical solution to a specific problem, contributing to the advancement of science and technology. If a given invention solves a long-standing problem then it is more than interesting, it is consequential.

“Every invention is consequential and in the instances in which the patent granted has been valid over the entire 20 year period, then it should be said that the invention is of maximum benefit to the public and in the respective sphere of technology. I am happy to say that we have quite a few inventions like this. I would like specifically to make mention of two inventions which have been valid for over 20 years – one is for a bronchodilator, and the other is for dietetic lactic acid nutritional therapy products. These patents play a significant role and benefit society.”

English version: Milena Daynova

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