SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT CANCELS “AXXON BULGARIA” INDUSTRIAL DESIGN25 January 2012
With a Decision dated 19.01.2012 the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) confirmed a Decision of the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO) for cancellation of an industrial design "Lighter", owned by "AXXON BULGARIA" LTD. According to the BPO the design does not conform to the requirements for novelty and originality, since it does not differ substantially from the lighter, registered as an International three-dimensional trademark by SOCIETE BIC - France (the world renowned BIC disposable flint-lighter).
The decision of the BPO was appealed before the Sofia City Court, who, based on expert conclusions of several experts concluded, that the design leaves a generally different impression from the registered three-dimensional trademark of SOCIETE BIC, and issued a decision for cancellation of the administrative act of the BPO.
The SAC, however, did not agree with the motives of the SCC and pointed out that the expert conclusions of the majority of the experts were full of contradictions. The High instance accepted the views of the experts who submitted reservations on the conclusions and according to who the design in question does not differ substantially from the registered three-dimensional trademark and does not create a different overall impression in the perception of the consumer, which means that the design does not conform to the requirements for novelty and originality and should be cancelled according to art. 45, par. 3 of the Law on Industrial Design.