Mexican Senate to Consider Proposed Amendments to IP Law for Patents and Designs

In April of 2017, the Mexican Senate added to its legislative agenda consideration of proposed amendments to certain chapters of the Industrial Property Law. Discussion of this proposal is pending, but could result in several positive changes for Mexican IP owners.

Among the main changes related to patents, industrial designs, and utility models, the amendments would:

  • Define ambiguous terms in the IP Law, including with respect to the requirement for novelty for industrial designs, which currently does not define the terms “independent creation” or “significantly” as stated in the following provision: “Designs that are of independent creation and which differ significantly from known designs or combinations of known features of designs shall be considered as novel…[…].”
  • Require a statement of the product to which the design will be applied.
  • Modify the term of protection for designs by changing it to a term of 5 years, with five possible renewal periods, instead of one 15-year term.
  • Provide that design and utility model applications will be published after formal examination is complete. Currently, designs and utility models are only published once granted.
  • Provide that, for all patents, designs, and utility models, divisional applications will be published after the formal examination is complete; currently they are not published until granted.
  • Once a patent, utility model or industrial design application is published, it will be open to public inspection. Under the current law, such applications can be consulted only by the applicant, the applicant’s representative or other authorized persons until they have been granted.
  • Reduces the term provided for third parties to submit “prior art submissions” after publication of an application from six to two months.

Overall, the proposed changes would be positive for the Mexican IP system, as they would provide certainty and fill in several gaps in the IP Law.

We expect that discussion of the proposed initiative will take place in the Mexican Congress in September. Of course, Olivares will closely monitor developments and keep its clients informed about next steps.

This newsletter is intended only as a general discussion of the addressed issues, and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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