Customs authorities take actions for suspension of the release of the goods on the basis of written application lodged with the Central Customs Directorate.
Requirements for the Application
The persons entitled to lodge applications are: the holder of the copyright and/or neighbouring rights; the person to whom exclusive user right has been granted; the person entitled to the protection of registered mark, geographical indication or industrial design, as well as the user entered into the Register at the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The application contains the following:
- request for detention by the customs authorities of the goods concerned;
- detailed description of the goods;
- specification of the nature of the infringement;
- requested duration of the period for keeping the goods under surveillance (not exceeding one year);
- proofs that the applicant is the right holder;
- the name, address, headquarters, telephone and fax of the applicant (in cases where the place of residence or the registered office of the applicant is outside the country, the applicant shall specify a judicial address within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria);
- document that the fee for application of border measures has been paid.
The applicant may also provide the following information, if available:
- the name and address or registered office of the consignee;
- the country of origin of the goods;
- the means of transport used and the name of the carrier;
- the expected date and place of arrival or departure of the goods at the border;
- the tariff code under which the goods are classified in the Customs Tariff of the Republic of Bulgaria;
- any samples, photos and models of the goods;
- information for the authorized traders of the original goods.
The Central Customs Directorate takes a decision on the merits concerning the application and communicates in writing the applicant within 7 days from the lodging of the application. Where one or more of the requirements for the application has not been met the Central Customs Directorate gives the applicant 3 days to complete the requirements. If the deficiencies are not eliminated in due term the Central Customs Directorate refuses to accept the application. The refusal is presented in writing and is motivated. The refusal is subject to an appeal under the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.
Duration of Suspension
On the basis of the accepted application, customs authorities detain the goods for a period not exceeding 10 working days from the communication to the applicant for the detention of the goods. This period may be prolonged once by a maximum of 10 working days by the director of the relevant customs office, where the goods are detained, upon a motivated request from the applicant, provided that there is evidence that legal proceeding has been initiated before the court in order to take a substantive decision on the statement of the fact of the infringement and a request for security measures under the Civil Procedures Code has been made.
The customs authorities release the detained goods provided that on the expiry of the set time limit the applicant has not requested a new time limit for suspension of the goods or his application has not been accepted by the customs authorities. In such cases the applicant covers the expenses for the suspension of the release of the goods made by customs authorities to the date of lodging of the application.
Security or Equivalent Assurance and Indemnification of the Importer and of the Owner of the Goods
Under the provisions of Article 96 (c) paragraph 2 of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act customs authorities determine for the applicant a guarantee in money or property in order to cover his liability in case the suspension turns out to be groundless. If after the lodging of the application and the detention of the goods legal proceeding has not been initiated before the court or the suspension turns out to be groundless the importer, the consignee and the owner of the goods have the right of compensation for the injury caused. In all other cases the injured party has the right to claim damages under the general civil legal procedure.
The provisions of Article 53 of the TRIPS Agreement are introduced in the Regulation through its Articles 5 and 6. Under the mentioned provisions the applicant is obliged to present a court decision for imposition of security measure in accordance with Article 309 of the Civil Procedures Code. In order to accept the security measure (in this case it will be the detention of the goods until the decision on the merits of the case has been taken), the court requires the applicant to provide a guarantee serving as indemnification to the person against whom actions have been taken, in case the applicant has not been acting in good faith.
Rights of Inspection and Information
In accordance with Article 4 of the Regulation customs authorities immediately inform the applicant for the detention of the goods, the name and the address or the headquarters of the consignee or the consignor of the goods. They also inform the consignee and/or the consignor of the goods via the carrier or their representatives for the detention of the goods, the grounds for the detention and the name and the address of the applicant. The applicant, the consignee and the consignor of the goods have the right to inspect the goods and to receive samples.