CNRA provides for administrative remedies, along with the civil ones, for the cases of infringement of the rights it protects. These remedies consist of certain powers of the Minister of Culture and customs authorities to undertake certain administrative actions in the event of infringement of copyright and neighbouring rights. These actions are set out in Articles 96(b)-98(d) of the Act.
These actions may be divided into three groups.
The first one is the group of measures implemented by customs authorities (96(b)-96(d) CNRA). Ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights at the border, where the goods under customs supervision or customs control are located or assumed to be located, is an effective way of providing legal protection promptly and efficiently to rightholders, as well as users or groups of manufacturers.
The rightholder and other authorised persons may request the customs authorities to suspend any goods transported across
the state border of the Republic of Bulgaria in regard to which there are reasonable grounds to consider that they infringe rights protected by this Law. The suspension measure shall not apply to goods transported by passengers in small quantities for non-commercial purposes. After the suspension, the petitioner must initiate legal proceedings and prove the alleged infringement. If, within 10 business days from the date of being notified, the petitioner does not present any proof that legal proceedings have been initiated before the relevant court to settle the dispute upon its merits, or that a guarantee measure has been authorized, the customs authorities shall release the suspended goods, provided that all requirements for standard import or export have been satisfied.
The suspension of goods may be performed not only at the rightholder’s request, but also at the discretion of the customs authorities or upon request by another government agency, which is another indication of the Law’s effective protection of copyright.
When a copyright infringement occurs in the course of customs inspection of goods by the customs authorities of a Member State, different from the State of the rightholder, the provisions under Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights shall apply. The Regulation implements an effective procedure for swift administrative cooperation. In accordance with the Regulation, Member States shall designate the customs department competent to receive and process applications. The competent customs department shall notify the applicant of its decision granting or rejecting the application within 30 working days of the receipt of the application. In the event of granting the application, the competent customs department delays the suspension of the release of goods or detains them, except for perishable goods. The customs authorities shall give the holder of the decision and the declarant or the holder of the goods the opportunity to inspect the goods whose release has been suspended or which have been detained. The customs authorities may take samples that are representative of the goods strictly for the purposes of analysis and to facilitate the subsequent procedure in relation to counterfeit and pirated goods. The Regulation provides for a procedure of destruction of goods.
The second group of administrative remedies (Article 96(f) of CNRA) consist of the Minister of Culture’s power to impose administrative coercive measures for the prevention and termination of infringements of the law. The Minister has the following powers:
to order in written form that the infringer terminate the infringement of this Law;
to order in written form that the infringer undertake specific measures for termination of the infringement in due time;
to order that the infringer declare the termination of the infringement of this law and, if necessary, to order that this declaration be announced to the public;
to order the termination of any infringement of this law and, if necessary, to announce the termination order to the public;
Administrative coercive measures shall be implemented with a reasoned decision. The order shall contain the type of administrative coercive measure and an adequate time-period for the provision of evidence for its implementation. The order imposing an administrative coercive measure may be appealed under the Code of Administrative Procedure.
The last group of administrative powers relates to giving rise to the administrative-penal liability of persons who infringe the rights protected by the law. The law sets out sixteen types of unlawful activities punishable by a fine or pecuniary sanction, except for when the person is liable to a more severe penalty. For a repeat offence committed within one year of the imposition of the previous penalty, the fine or pecuniary sanction shall be fivefold.
In the event of systematic infringement, the facility where the infringements have been committed, such as a shop, studio, restaurant, movie theatre, theatre, company head office, etc. shall be closed for a term of three to six months. The establishment of the existence of infringements and the issue, appeal and enforcement of the penal ordinances shall be conducted by the Minister of Culture, in accordance with the Law on the Administrative Offences and Penalties. The amounts collected from fines shall be credited to the budget of the Ministry of Culture and shall be disbursed for the protection of copyright.