National IP training for law enforcement authorities in Bulgaria

08.03.2018

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On March 8, 2018 ARSIS Consulting held a national IP training for the Bulgarian police officers working on anti-counterfeiting. The training event took place in Sofia and was attended by 53 police officers from around the country. A total of 35 central and regional police department were represented. Officers from the General Directorate “National Police” and General Directorate “Combating Organized Crime” were also in attendance along with representatives of the Bulgarian Customs Agency centralized IPR Unit. The local office of INTERPOL also sent a representative at the IP training.

The participants were addressed by Mr. Velizar Sokolov, Managing partner of ARSIS Consulting, and members of ARSIS Consulting legal and enforcement teams. Their presentations made a detailed retrospect of the hurdles and accomplishments in IP enforcement that were faced and overcome together by brand owners and law enforcement authorities in Bulgaria for the period after the Bulgarian accession into the EU (2007-2017). A separate panel was dedicated to the 2013 Interpretive Decision on anti-counterfeiting by the General Assembly of the Penal Collegiate of the Supreme Cassation court which has had a profound and lasting effect on local case law and is considered a setting stone for local case law and best practices.

The attention of the audience was then turned to current challenges in anti-counterfeiting such as Internet and social media distribution of fakes, international trafficking of fake goods across Bulgarian territory, notorious local markets and the necessity to work on cutting off supply chains and utilize the “follow the money” approach in order to achieve long lasting enforcement effects. Additional presentation was made on the topic of design rights and design infringements which was considered of raising importance. Relevant case law was discussed where the extended cooperation between the private sector and the law enforcement authorities was deemed as a key component in the successful enforcement actions and follow-up litigation. 

The last training session included mock police raids against counterfeiters. The participants were split into two groups and each was given a test scenario. The scenarios included tasks such as target and supply chain investigation, seizure of computer equipment used for operating e-shops selling fakes, in-death investigation of online targets and commercial documents, cooperation with representatives of the brands on product identification of counterfeit goods, mixed shipments, exhaustion of rights, etc.

The mock market seizures provoked active discussions among the participants and led to a more general consideration on the current IP enforcement landscape in the country. Representatives of the regional police departments shared different practices to conducting police raids. Upon completion of the  closing remarks, the participants openly supported Mr. Sokolov’s initiatives for a nation-wide practical guide on pre-court criminal proceedings on anti-counterfeiting and a joint IP workshop along with state prosecutors and judges with IP expertise aimed at enhancing the cooperation among all state and government institutions in Bulgaria against counterfeiting.

For upcoming IP trainings of law enforcement authorities in Bulgaria, please contact arsis@arsis.cc.



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