20 years together

July 2012

31 July 2012

Plamena Georgieva, Senior Associate at Dimitrov, Petrov & Co. Law Firm, was awarded a scholarship and attended a training course entitled Technology Licensing for Developing Countries: Dos and Don’ts organized by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, Italy from 25 June to 6 July 2012.

24 IP experts from 15 countries from 4 continents – Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, were selected to participate in this two-week course. The lecturers, being prominent international IP experts, provided the participants with a practical analysis of the international rules, policies and best practices in dealing with the most crucial issues relating to the transfer of technology from industrialized to developing and transition economy countries, from a strategic and institutional point of view.

Тhe modules of the course included: Negotiating License Agreements; Technology Transfer and Patent Licensing; Transfer of Green Technologies; Copyright and Software Licensing and Piracy; Various Business Structures for IP Licensing, i.e., Master Licensing, Franchising, and Joint Ventures; Licensing of Traditional Knowledge; and Alternative Dispute Resolution. The course aimed at providing the participants with the necessary substantive knowledge and practical skills required to become a driving force in the field within their countries.

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Act for Amendment and Supplement to the Judiciary System Act

The Act for Amendment and Supplement to the Judiciary System Act (JSA) was promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 50 from July 3, 2012.

Some amendments concerning the election of members of the Supreme Judicial Council have been made. Propositions for candidates are considered by a specialized standing committee of the National Assembly. Propositions for candidate members of the Supreme Judicial Council from the quota of the National Assembly are made by the Members of Parliament not later than two months prior to the election before the committee, subject to the prior written consent of the candidate, detailed written explanatory statements, as well as all documents required.

Art. 19a is created, providing that every candidate should present a written conception for his work as a member of the Supreme Judicial Council and a declaration of property status and origin of funds. The committee prepares a report on the candidates’ professional and moral qualities, and thus nominates the candidacies for discussion and voting in the National Assembly. 

The newly created Art. 19b states that the National Assembly chooses individually each member of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Propositions for elective candidate members of the Supreme Judicial Council from the judiciary quota can be made by every participant in the meetings of judges and prosecutors, subject to the prior written consent of the candidate and written explanatory statements. Judges of the Specialized Criminal Court and the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal, and the prosecutors of the Specialized Prosecutor’s office and the Appellate Specialized Prosecutor’s office nominate candidate members of the Supreme Judicial Council and delegates at the meetings of judges of the Court of Appeal/of prosecutors of the Appellate Prosecutor’s office.

According to the new Art. 21a, investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation, the district prosecutor’s offices, the district military prosecutor’s offices and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office nominate elective candidate members of the Supreme Judicial Council at a separate general meeting.

The new Art. 22a provides that propositions for elective members should be sent to the Supreme Judicial Council with the written consent and biography of the candidate, the name and written explanatory statements of the participant nominating the candidate, and the Supreme Judicial Council publishes them on its web page within three days of their receipt. Each candidate should present before the Council a written conception of his work as a member and a declaration of property status and origin of funds. If a candidate fails to present his written conception and declaration or his candidacy is not published, this candidate will not be heard or voted.

Some amendments regarding the election of Chief Inspector and inspectors have been introduced as well. Propositions for candidates for Chief Inspector and inspectors are made according to the same procedure as the one for election of members of the Supreme Judicial Council from the National Assembly’s quota.

A new Chapter is created, regulating the consideration of applications against violation of the right of examination and resolution of cases within a reasonable term. Those applications can be filed by parties to closed civil, administrative and criminal proceedings, defendants, legal entities having incurred damage or harm  under closed pre-trial proceedings. This Chapter defines compensation of up to 10,000 BGN. A Register of Applications is created, and applications should be filed through the Council’s Inspectorate to the Minister of Justice within 6 months of the completion of the proceedings. A specialized department for examination of applications is established at the Inspectorate. The application may be denied as groundless if the duration of the proceeding is within the reasonable term or the delay is due to the claimant or a legal representative of the claimant. The amount of compensation is determined according to the European Court of Human Rights’ practice and is paid on the basis of an agreement with the claimant. Section V stipulates measures to eliminate the reasons for violations.

According to the Transitional and Concluding Provisions of the Act for Amendment and Supplement to the Judiciary System Act, the provisions of this chapter will enter into force on October 1, 2012.

A new paragraph of Art. 167 is created regarding the election of candidates for head of administration. The procedure is initiated by the Council not earlier than three months and not later than one month before the expiration of the mandate.

Some supplements regarding Art. 173 have been made as well. Candidates for Chairperson of the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court and Prosecutor General should present a conception of their work as heads of administration. Non-profit legal entities, scientific organizations and universities may present their opinions of the candidate and their questions before the Supreme Judicial Council. This also applies to candidates for heads of administration who present a conception of their work as well.

According to the amendments to Art. 374, the Chief Inspector is appointed for a term of 5 years and is required to have at least 10 years of juridical service. The remuneration of the Chief Inspector is the same as the remuneration of a district judge. Inspectors are appointed for a 4-year term and are required to have at least 5 years of juridical service. Their remuneration is equal to the remuneration of a regional judge.

The new Art. 386 regulates the Central Bureau of Criminal Records at the Ministry of Justice. It exchanges information with the central authorities of other EU member states concerning convicted Bulgarian and foreign citizens recorded in the registers of conviction in accordance with the national legislation. The Ministry of Justice creates and maintains an information system called “Central Database of Conviction”. 

 According to the amendments and supplements to the Constitutional Court Act, judges from the Constitutional Court have the right to retire without terminating their social security payments elsewhere, and they are entitled to a payment amounting to twenty monthly remunerations. Termination of the mandate of a Constitutional Court Judge is announced by the chairperson of the court, or it happens with the newly elected or the newly appointed judge’s taking an oath.

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Regulation for the structure, activity, operational organisation, number of employees of the Communications Regulation Commission, and the structure of its administration

The Regulation for the structure, activity, operational organisation, number of employees of the Communications Regulation Commission, and the structure of its administration is promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 52 of July 10, 2012.

First among the amendments to the Regulation is the reduction of the Chairperson’s powers provided for in Art. 5, item 6. While before the amendment of July 10, 2012 it was within the competence of the Chairperson of the Commission to approve the staff numbers and job descriptions of the administration employees, after the amendment the Chairperson is competent to approve the staff numbers and job descriptions only of the General Secretary and the positions which are in immediate subordination to the Chairperson.

Amendment regarding the announcement of the Commission’s decisions in the State Gazette is also established. While before the amendment two options of announcement were available – promulgation and publication in the State Gazette, after the amendment the promulgation remains the only available option.

According to Art. 17, Para 2 of the Regulation after the amendment, the Commission’s administration is structured in directorates.  Thus, the text of the aforesaid provision excludes the Commission’s Cabinet, as stipulated before the amendment. According to Art. 17, Para 3 after the amendment, the employees of the Commission’s administration may work under a service contract or under a labour contract, whereas according to the same provision before the amendment, the employees may work there only under a labour contract. The number of directorates after the amendment is reduced by one (from one main directorate and seven other directorates to one main directorate and six other directorates).

Significant changes concerning the administration structure are established, requiring the following amendment to the title of Section IV – from “Structure and Functions of the Directorates” to “Structure and Functions of the Administration”. According to Art. 23, the directorates of the Commission’s administration are organized in a general administration (Financial and Administrative Services Directorate) and a specialised administration (which includes the Communications Control Main Directorate, the Coordination, Planning and International Activities Directorate, the Legal Regulation and General Legal Services Directorate, the Licensing Activity and  Frequency Planning Directorate, the Technical Regulation and Electronic Signature Directorate, the Market Regulation Directorate).

According to the amendment to Art. 24, the Financial and Administrative Services Directorate combines the functions of the Administrative and Information Services Directorate and the Financial, Economic Services and Human Resources Management Directorate, both operating before the amendment.

The Communications Control Directorate retains its functions and competences before the amendment, and item 6 is added to Art. 26 - monitoring of the radiofrequency spectrum for civil needs.

According to the amendment to the Regulation, a new directorate is established, namely the Coordination, Planning, International Activities Directorate, incorporating some of the functions of  the International Activities and Communications with EU Directorate existing before the amendment, such as: coordination and preparation of the Commission’s  meetings, preparation of a draft agenda, preparation and keeping of minutes of the Commission’s meetings, the original acts of the Commission and the documents enclosed thereto, coordination of the implementation of the Commission’s decisions and terms fixed in resolutions; participation in the activities of the management bodies and the international organizations’ working bodies on the European and international levels related to the Commission’s activities. At the same time, this Directorate ensures the performance of activities which were not provided by the Regulation before the amendment, such as: coordination of the introduction, implementation, updating of the Commission’s strategy in accordance with the international regulatory standards, the EU legislation and the general trends in the sector.

According to the amendment, the title of the Law Directorate is changed into the Legal Regulation and General Legal Services Directorate. The following new powers of this Directorate are added to the existing ones: collection and storage of information about the main subject of complaints against the Commission’s decisions, the number of complaints, the duration of appeal procedures, and the number of acts issued by the competent court for termination of the effect of the Commission’s decisions; ensuring lawful opening, conducting and closing of administrative penal procedures.

The amendment of July 7, 2012 does not provide for any changes in the regulation of the Licensing Activity and Frequency Planning Directorate and the Technical Regulation and Electronic Signature Directorate.

According to the new items 16 and 17 of Art. 31, the Market Regulation Directorate ensures the performance of activities for preparation of expert opinions within its competence on disputes between users and postal operators related to claims concerning postal services, and management of the reporting on the compliance with the universal postal service quality standards.

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Ordinance for Amendment and Supplement to Ordinance No 3 of 2009 on the Requirements and the Procedure for Performing Payment Transactions and Using Payment Instruments

The Ordinance for amendment and supplement to Ordinance No 3 of 2009 on the requirements and the procedure for performing payment transactions and using payment instruments is promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 57 of July 27, 2012.

Among the amendments to the Ordinance, first of all we should mention the amendments to Chapter IV providing for change in its title (from “Performing payment transactions by means of payment cards” into “Performing payment transactions and prepaid transactions by means of payment cards”). According to the amendment to Art. 26, Para 2, the personal identification number is a kind of a personalized security feature. It consists of at least four numbers and serves for identification of the authorised user of payment services, but not having the features of an electronic signature.

According to the amendment of July 27, 2012, a new Section IV, entitled Performing transactions by means of prepaid cards, is incorporated in Chapter IV. Art. 34a of the Ordinance defines the prepaid card as a kind of payment instrument designed for storing electronic money or providing remote access to electronic money, and performing electronic transactions. According to Art. 34a, Para 2, the prepaid card has a fixed validity term and may as well not be personalized. If the prepaid card is personalized, it should be used personally by the authorised user of prepaid services. The name of the authorised user, the number of the card and the expiry date of the card are placed on its front side. The payment services provider issuing the card is responsible for its personalization. According to Art. 34a, Para 5, if the prepaid card has a personalized security feature – PIN, the issuer of the payment card is obliged to provide each authorised user of payment services with the opportunity to change his/her PIN with a new numerical combination which is familiar only to the user.

Transactions performed in Bulgaria by means of prepaid cards under Art. 27, Para 1   are authorized (approved) or denied by the authorization system of the issuer or the respective operator of the card payment system after verification of the value of the electronic money and the agreed transaction limits. For transactions performed by means of prepaid cards on POS terminals located with a trader, Art. 31 and Art. 32, Para 1, item 1, item 4, item 5, and Para 2 and 3 respectively apply. For transactions performed by means of a personalized prepaid card, Art. 32, Para 1, item 2 and item 3 respectively apply.

The Ordinance for amendment and supplement to Ordinance No 3 of 2009 on the requirements and the procedure for performing payment transactions and using payment instruments is enacted on the grounds of Art. 48, Para 3 and § 10 of the Transitional and Concluding Provisions of the Payment Services and Payment Systems Act, and is adopted with Decision No 51 of July 12, 2012, of the Management Board of the Bulgarian National Bank.

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Decision No 604 of July 13, 2012 for adoption of the Plan for Introduction of  Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) in the Republic of Bulgaria

With Decision No 604 of July 13, 2012, promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 57 of July 27, 2012, the Plan for Introduction of Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) in the Republic of Bulgaria has been adopted.

The Decision revokes the Plan for Introduction of   Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) in the Republic Bulgaria adopted with the decision under item 24 of Protocol No 5 on the meeting of the Council of Ministers on  January 31, 2008.

According to Section III.2, the main goal of Plan 2012 is to provide a predictable and gradual transition from terrestrial analogue to terrestrial digital video broadcasting.

The conditions for the actual start of the process in Bulgaria are established by the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) and the Radio and Television Act (RTA), as well as the subsequent Plan for Introduction of Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial  (DVB-T) in the Republic of Bulgaria of 2008.

Section VI of the Plan provides information about the stages and conditions for introduction of digital broadcasting. The introduction will be implemented in two stages. The first network under §5а, Para 1 of the Transitional and Concluding Provisions of ECA of the First Stage should provide by March 1, 2013, coverage for 95%, and the other one by September 1, 2013 – for at least 85% of the population of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Section VII.2 regulates the relations between media service providers and undertakings providing terrestrial digital television broadcasting. The general principles to be observed by any undertaking that has obtained a licence for use of an individually assigned scarce resource are in accordance with RTA.

The Radio and Television Act stipulates the conditions for television programmes to be entitled to mandatory broadcasting through the terrestrial digital television broadcasting networks   with national coverage.

The simultaneous broadcasting will start following the provision of 95% coverage for the population from the commercial and public network at the First Stage, and on September 1, 2013 all transmitters of terrestrial analogue television broadcasting will permanently cease broadcasting. After the final suspension of the terrestrial analogue television broadcasting, depending on the interest expressed or at the initiative of the competent regulatory body, the right of use of the free radiofrequency resource  for mobile applications, extension of the range of the MNR-based services or Pan-European services protected in Plan Geneva 2006 will be granted, in compliance with the politics of the European Union for adoption of the so called “digital dividend”.

For  the purpose of releasing the television channels used by the Ministry of Defence, in the course of budget procedures, as of 2013 and depending on the development of the economic processes in the country, financial resources from the state budget are planned for financing the activities of the Ministry related to the harmonization of the radiofrequency spectrum.

The provision of conditions for using the advantages of the terrestrial digital television by socially disadvantaged persons and families (persons with special social needs) is stipulated in detail in Section IX. The basic criterion in accordance with the legislation in force in the area of social welfare is differentiated minimum income for heating.

Decree No 6 of January 18, 2012 of the Council of Ministers stipulates the provision of funds amounting to 17.5 million BGN to the budget of the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications for terminal equipment and conducting an information campaign.

Section X defines the necessity  of creating a permanent coordinating body – Steering Committee (a digital television body), in which one representative of the competent bodies and interested parties should mandatorily participate – the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications, the Communications Regulation Commission, the Council for Electronic Media, commercial audio-visual media service providers involved in the transition from  terrestrial analogue  broadcasting to  terrestrial digital  broadcasting, public radio and television operators and undertakings constructing networks for terrestrial digital broadcasting.

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