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The Mexican Patent System

Mexican IP Office

The governmental agency in charge of handling intellectual property rights in Mexico is the the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property (IMPI) located in Mexico City. Five regional offices in Mexico are: Western Regional Office (ORO), in Zapopan, Northern Regional Office (ORN), in Monterrey, Southeastern Regional Office (ORS), in Merida, “Bajio” Regional Office (ORB) in Leon and Center Regional Office (ORC) in Puebla.

Filing Patents in Mexico

An application for a patent in Mexico must contain the name and address of the applicant and the inventor, as well as the citizenship of the inventor and place of incorporation of the applicant, if applicable. The necessary elements of an application are: title, abstract, specifications, claims, and any necessary drawings. In addition, any portion of the specifications not in Spanish must be accompanied by a Spanish translation. Also, while a power of attorney does not need to be notarized, it requires the signature of two witnesses.

Patent term for patents is 20 years, for industrial designs it is 15 years, and the utility model term expires 10 years from the filing date.

PCT National Stage in Mexico

Mexico is a member of the PCT and the Paris Convention. When an application is filed as a PCT National Stage application, the national stage entry deadline is 30 months from the PCT application’s priority date. Filing power of attorney at the national stage is required, and Spanish translation extensions are available. There are no fees for excess claims.

Recent IP Legal Trends in Mexico

With respect to patent enforcement, infringement actions in Mexico are brought before the IMPI and not the courts. According to Mexican patent attorneys, cases go to courts only if the IMPI determined that the patent is valid and infringed. In such instances, courts adjudicate on damages, or potential criminal penalties imposed upon the infringing party.

Since January 2009 Mexican government has established a first specialized IP court that was envisioned to help combat infringement, and while some attorneys see notable improvement over the old system, some are dissatisfied with the backlog of cases and inconsistency of the court’s decisions.

In Mexico, as a consequence of patent enforcement developments, three distinct classes of pharmaceutical patents have been created, not necessarily reflective of their inventive value: active substance patents, which are deemed strong, formulation patents, which have been considered weak, and use patents, which have also been difficult to enforce. Mexican patent lawyers warn that this discrimination among pharmaceutical patents based on their subject matter should be noted when protecting inventions in Mexico.

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