Corporate law, trademark protection and mediation: LVLaw&Mediation is a practice that helps big and small businesses to thrive by taking care of their legal representation in these crucial fields of law
Founded by Lyubka Vasileva, an attorney with over 25 years of legal experience and 15 years of experience as a mediator, it offers tailored solutions for each case.
What, in your opinion, is in the core of a successful law firm today?
For me, the most important measure of success is client satisfaction and building a strong lawyer-client relationship based on mutual trust and respect. To achieve this, professionalism is mandatory, but not sufficient. Sensitivity to the client's needs, honest and open communication, flexibility, and adaptability are all essential. Cooperation between lawyer and client is key, and this is the basic principle on which the work of my law practice is built. A good attorney must be able to listen to understand what is important to the client in a particular situation and, depending on the particular needs, to be able to suggest different approaches to resolving it. Therefore, in addition to pure legal services, LVLaw&Mediation also offers resolving disputes through mediation. Understanding alternative dispute resolution methods and using the soft skills learned in practice as a mediator broaden the approaches the clients can benefit from.
What are the main corporate law cases that you have met during your practice? What is the profile of your corporate clients?
In my over 25 years of practice as in-house lawyer in various organisations, such as leading Bulgarian banks and commercial and public companies, I have dealt with a variety of corporate law cases – from company registration, advice on corporate governance, preparation and organization of general meetings, drafting of various documents, including substantiated reports for transactions under Article 114 of the Public Offering of Securities Act, etc., to participation in negotiations and drafting of documentation for mergers and acquisitions, notifications to the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition, representation in different court and administrative proceedings, etc. This experience is the basis for the decision to focus the activities of LVLaw&Mediation mainly on legal services for businesses whose problems I know best and can be most useful in solving. To this day, I still work with some of my former employers. Besides well-established companies, the clients base also includes entrepreneurs who are just starting their businesses and foreigners interested in registering or protecting trademarks in Bulgaria or the EU.
What does trademarks protection in the EU look like? What is the most important thing a company should know about the process?
A well-recognised brand is a valuable asset, it "sells" the associated goods or services and creates a loyal consumer base. Large market players are aware of these advantages, but startups often overlook the need for brand protection.
The registration of a trademark gives its owner absolute rights over it, including protection against its use by competitors. This protection is territorial – trademarks registered as national in one EU country are protected only there, while those registered as EU trademarks are protected in all member states. The protection may furthermore be extended to third countries by means of international registration under the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.
The consideration of what territorial scope of protection to seek is made on a case-by-case basis and depends both on the business strategy of the applicant and on possible obstacles to registering the mark in a particular territory. One of the primary areas of practice of LVLaw&Mediation is assisting clients in selecting an appropriate strategy, registering and protecting trademark rights, and resolving related disputes, including through mediation.
Mediation has been around in Bulgaria for some time but is still rarely used. What are its advantages in resolving disputes between organisations?
Mediation offers a different approach to dispute management and resolution. At its core is the model of principled negotiation – the concept that there are specific interests (needs, concerns, long-term goals, etc.) behind the stated positions of the disputants. A lasting solution must satisfy the interests of both parties and, where this is not possible, should be based on objective criteria considered fair by both parties. The mediator helps the disputants overcome their emotional reactions and explore these deeper levels of conflict, thereby discovering alternative options to satisfy their interests and finding solutions that meet the interests of both parties. Even when such a solution cannot be found, mediation improves communication between the parties and helps to preserve their relationship, which is essential if they have to continue working together. Other advantages of mediation are the avoidance of publicity due to the confidentiality of the procedure, the fact that the parties retain control over the decision and can tailor it to suit their specific business interests, the flexibility and speed of the procedure, and the much lower costs compared to court proceedings. Last but not least, there are mechanisms to enforce the settlement agreement reached in mediation, including in other jurisdictions.
In July 2024, Bulgaria will introduce compulsory judicial mediation. What do you expect to change?
The introduction of a compulsory first meeting in a mediation procedure is a step forward in building a culture of peaceful dispute resolution and will lead to increased public awareness of the benefits of mediation. However, judicial mediation has its limitations in terms of the types of disputes, the choice of mediator and the procedure's duration. So, I expect this to result in growth in out-of-court mediation as well. Especially in complex disputes requiring specific expertise, such as intellectual property-related disputes, construction disputes, etc., resorting to a specialized out-of-court center or individual mediator will enable the parties to choose a mediator with the appropriate qualifications for the specifics of their dispute, thereby significantly increasing their chances of finding a solution.
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phone: 0887 934 191