This article examines the implementation of the Doctrine for Parallel import of goods and the Principle of exhaustion of rights in relation to trade marks in the Republic of Bulgaria. In doing so the authors analyze two kinds of sources:
* Bulgarian Legislation, including the Mark and Geographical Indications Act(1999), the Protection of Competition Act(1998), the Customs Act (1998) and the Ordinance for border measures for protection of intellectual property rights (2000),
* Rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the decisions of the Competition Protection Commission.
The article analyses the regulation of Parallel Import of Goods into Bulgaria, comparing the legislation of the European Union — Directive no. 104/89 and Regulation of the Council of Europe no. 40/94, the legislation of the US — Lanham Act and Tariff Act, the legislation of the United Kingdom — Trade Marks Law (1994) and the legislation of Japan — Trade Mark Law (1959).
The article criticizes the idea that parallel imports are a violation, as they happen to be under the current regime of Mark and Geographical Indications Act (1999). The article scrutinizes relations among trade marks owners; sellers of goods, bearing trade marks; retailers and buyers of goods. It outlines the borders, wherein interests may need protec¬tion and points out the necessity to find a balance between contradicting interests. In analyzing Articles 13, 15, 75 and 78 the authors reach the conclusion that MGIA should not constitute parallel imports as a violation.
Parallel imports could be referred to as a violation when it comes to counterfeiting of goods — Article 33 (1) of Protection of Competition Act and it also falls within the scope of analysis.
The authors come to the conclusion that to follow the contemporary development of the Doctrine of parallel import of goods, Bulgarian legislation needs several improvements in the relevant field. This is due to the inefficient mechanisms for protection of trade-mark owners' interests. A strong evidence of this appears in the instance when parallel traders import original goods and sell them before the national exhaustion of rights has occurred and could be executed to protect trade mark owners.
In an attempt to discuss future development, the article finishes with a study on several issues, related to the membership of the Republic of Bulgaria in the European Union and its effect over the legal regulation of parallel import.