There were 16 participants representing law firms, first instance courts and rights holders. The moderators were Iana Roueva Madey and Krassimir Rouev from MADARA LAW; Maria Slavova from the Patent Office examination and opposition department; and Simona Takova, chairman of the Center for Settlement and Mediation at the Sofia District and City Courts.
The day’s programme was similar to previous workshops on this topic organised by MARQUES. It started with an overview of specific legal issues that arise in connection with prior rights agreements, particularly in the context of the rapid expansion in the number of trade mark applications. A number of examples of coexistence agreements were presented, and some general tips on drafting were given.
This presentation also included advice on the provisions that are usually included in a coexistence agreement, such as identification of the parties, relevant trade marks and other rights; lists of commercial activities and geographical regions; dates; choice of law and jurisdiction; and what happens in the event of material changes. There was also a discussion of the potential drawbacks of coexistence agreements.
Krassimir Rouev’s presentation addressed the lack of an explicit legal framework for coexistence agreements at the national and EU level, and in particular the lack of case law in Bulgaria. He also discussed the lessons from some relevant EUIPO decisions
Following a coffee break, the registrants split into two teams to draft agreements based on the scenario presented (Nimble Holdings v Nimby GmbH). Their results were presented and various points that arose were debated further. These included insolvency proceedings in accordance with the Bulgarian Law on Commerce.
Written reports on the case study have been made in both English and Bulgarian and are available on the MARQUES website.
The half-day workshop closed with cocktails and further discussions