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McGregor & Partners Newsletter – February 2016

In focus in Bulgarian legislation

Law on supplement of the Excises and Tax Warehouses Act (SG 92 as of 27.11.2015)

The Excises and Tax Warehouses Act (ETWA), which regulates which persons are subject to mandatory registration, expands their circle, including also four categories of persons, performing an activity in connection with energy from renewable resources by power plants with total installed power of up to 5 MW or bio-gas or compressed or liquefied natural gas.

Until 01.03.2016 (two months term after entering into force of the act) the above-mentioned persons shall file an application for registration.

NEW Insurance Code (SG 102 as of 29.12.2015)

New Insurance Code entered into force on 01.01.2016. One of the introduced important changes is the extension of the territorial scope of the coverage under mandatory insurance “Civil liability” of the motorists in terms of damages caused in the territory of a third country, whose national office of insurers is a member of the Green Card system. Another innovation is that if there is no insurance “Civil liability” and it is not paid within a month after two warning letters, the Ministry of Interior officially terminates the registration of the vehicle.

Bill of the Law on Amendments of the Energy Act as of 20.01.2016

One of the important proposed changes sets out that when an owner, possessing a separate object or objects in a block of flats, affiliated to a substation or its separate deviation, does not want to be a customer of heating energy for heating and/or hot water, he must declare this in writing before the heat transmission company and to request a termination of the heat supply for heating and/or hot water supply from this substation or from its individual deviation.

ELECTRONIC ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PLATFORM FOR CONSUMER DISPUTES

An electronic platform for online dispute resolution for consumer disputes started working on the 15th of February, 2016. This is a result of the entry into force of Regulation (EU) №524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) №2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Regulation for ORC for consumers). The address of the e-platform is the following: http://ec.europa.eu/odr. The Regulation, respectively the platform settles the out-of-court resolution of disputes concerning contractual obligations stemming from online sales or service contracts between a consumer resident in the EU and a trader established in the EU through the intervention of alternative dispute resolution bodies (ADR).

The online traders are obliged to publish on their websites electronic link to the platform for online dispute resolution (ODR platform), which is easily accessible for consumers. Moreover, the authorities for ADR (conciliation committees and the European Consumer Centre at the Commission for Consumer Protection) shall publish on their websites electronic link to the website of the European Commission, which can be found on the list of recognized authorities for ADR of the Member States of the EU and provide an electronic link to the ODR platform. When it is possible, they make publicly available a list of recognized authorities also on a durable carrier.

The idea for creating of an online platform for resolution of disputes is a project of the EU as essential is the web site of the European Commission, on which consumers and traders can obtain detailed information about certain types of contracts of sale and contracts for the provision of services, concluded online. Moreover, they can file complaints electronically. If there is a dispute (and provided that both parties agree), there is an opportunity to choose a third party as a mediator to settle the dispute.

News on European Union Law

Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trade mark regulation has been published in the EU Official Journal L 341, 24.12.2015.

The Regulation will enter into force on 23 March 2016. From that day, the current Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market will be called the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community trade mark will be called the European Union trade mark.Other important amendment is the deletion of the requirement of graphic representation of the sign, which will facilitate the registration of sound and scent trade marks. EU trade mark application no longer can be submitted to the national industrial property office and an EU trade mark application may be submitted only to the EU Office. Rules for registration of EU certification mark are also introduced and the fees payable for a trade mark registration and renewal are revised.

There is also a change with regard to the identification of the goods and services under the Nice Classification, for which protection is sought upon the registration of a trade mark. The persons who applied for registration of Community trade marks before 22 June 2012 by identifying the entire class heading, may file a declaration by 24 September 2016 to indicate the goods and services, other than those clearly covered by the literal meaning of the indications of the class heading.

On 14th of January 2016 the European Court of Justice rendered a conviction against Bulgaria with subject a claim for failure to fulfill obligations in which the plaintiff is the European Commission and the defendant Bulgaria. Among the facts of the case and the pre-litigation procedure that the area of Kaliakra, which is located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, is an important area for the conservation of many bird species and their habitats, because of which it is set for important bird area (IBA) by the NGO “Birdlife international”. On the 18th of December 2007 in accordance with the Birds Directive, the Republic of Bulgaria has established C33 “Kaliakra”, but according to the Commission, the violation is expressed in non-including entirely in C33 “Kaliakra” the areas of IBA “Kaliakra”, whose protection was important in view of the protection of birds. According to the Court due to not fully incorporating the territories of the important bird areas in C33 “Kaliakra”, the Republic of Bulgaria has not classified as C33 the most appropriate number and area of territories with a view to safeguarding on the one hand, of biological species, and on the other, of the regularly occurring migratory species, and therefore failed to fulfill its obligations under the Birds Directive.