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Mexico: Federal Law on the Protection of Industrial Property (published in the Official Journal of the Federation on July 1, 2020)

November 5, 2020

Mexico: The Federal Law on the Protection of Industrial Property (published in the Official Journal of the Federation on July 1, 2020) entered into force on November 5, 2020; except for its Article 5, paragraphs VI, VII, VIII; Articles 393, 394, 396, paragraph I; Articles 397, 398 and 400, which will enter into force on November 5, 2021.

The Federal Law repealed the Law on Industrial Property (consolidated text published in the Official Journal of the Federation on May 18, 2018) and provides for the following new elements, inter alia:

(i) extending the exceptions and limitations to patent rights relating to, inter alia, the preparation of medicines which authorizes third parties to carry out studies, tests and experimental production to obtain a sanitary registration of medicines for human health prior to the expiration of the existing patent (referred to as the "Bolar provision");

(ii) introducing the system on supplementary protection certificates (hereinafter: SPCs) that serve as an extension to a patent right in cases of delay in processing the patent application;

(iii) increasing the term of protection for utility models from 10 years to 15 years;

(iv) prohibiting the granting of two patents to the same applicant for the same invention (the principle of prohibition of double patenting);

(v) regarding trade secrets, introducing the concepts of misappropriation and responsibility over confidential information, clarifying the scope of protection and exceptions for misappropriation, and setting forth new crimes and imposing greater punishments for improper acquisition, use, and disclosure of trade secrets;

(vi) expanding protection of industrial designs to handicraft items following the accession of Mexico to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement and the entry into force on June 6, 2020;

(vii) eliminating the requirement to record trademark licenses before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (hereinafter the IMPI);

(viii) providing a term of validity of trademark registration for 10 years from the registration date, instead from the filing date of the application;

(ix) extending the trademark opposition period to 4 months to reply to an opposition from the date the opposition is served to the applicant. If an opposition is filed, the opposing party will be precluded from later filing an invalidity action on the same grounds, arguments and evidence;

(x) allowing partial non-use cancellation actions for lack of use with respect to only the protected goods and services that are not in use;

(xi) including grounds to annul trademarks for breach of Mexican Official Standards (called "NOMs"-Normas Oficiales Mexicanas) and imposing new criminal violations relating to for geographical indications;

(xii) strengthening the authority and power of the IMPI regarding, inter alia, determining the compensation for damages and the creation of a payment enforcement procedure;  and

(xiii) establishing two different procedures to provide compensation for damages, through the Federal Courts or IMPI.