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How energy reform will affect IP and tech transfer

by Alejandro Luna and Luz Elena Elías

On August 12 2014, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto enacted several secondary or regarding the energy Constitutional reform. These will allow the opening of the oil, gas and power sector industries to foreign and private investment, leaving behind 76 years of state monopoly (PEMEX and CFE).

This new regulatory structure, which along with the energy reform is the most significant economic development since NAFTA’s adoption, will have a positive influence on Mexico’s economic growth by allowing competition in the country’s largest sectors. This implies the development, implementation and transfer of new technologies. These new technologies will have an impact on the number of patents and related IP rights filed in our country. The number of patent applications filed now varies between 13,000 and 15,000 a year, most of them filed by foreign companies. One of the largest national filers is the Mexican Petroleum Institute (PEMEX’s R&D arm). The reform, along with its regulatory structure, will increase patent filing in Mexico considerably, not only for foreigners.

Also, it is important to highlight that one of the most important aims of the energy reform is to provide Mexico with the required technology and experience to exploit its natural resources, which will translate into a reactivation of technology transfer not only with the Mexican Petroleum Institute but with other relevant sectors. Therefore, the reform will raise the profile of intellectual property, which is one of the elements driving technology development and innovation that reflects the modernisation of enterprises and the competitiveness of a country’s economy.

Mexico is also working on the required changes to IP laws and regulations to properly fulfill the modernization intended by this reform and others

already implemented.