Corn tortillas are a fundamental source of nutrition for Mexican families, and artificial price increases have a significant effect on the consumer economy. Given the importance of the corn tortilla market, it has come under the scrutiny of several authorities – for example, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, which recently fined three individuals a total of Ps394,508 for the commission of an absolute monopolistic practice in the market for the production, distribution and marketing of corn tortillas.
The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit recently circulated a substantially amended draft of the Financial Technology Bill, which has been renamed the Financial Technology Institutions (FTIs) Law. The law aims to regulate the financial services provided by FTIs – including those which are bound to specific regulations and offered or rendered through innovative means – as well as the organisation of such institutions and their operations.
Italian energy company Enel Green Power recently launched a qualified energy supplier subsidiary in Mexico, through which it intends to acquire at least 150 large customers. Enel plans to make a substantial bid to commercialise electric power, clean energy certificates and energy solutions for commercial and industrial users. This type of private investment is a clear example of how the Mexican energy reform has led to the emergence of new players that were previously unable to participate in this sector.
The National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently filed a draft emergency Mexican official standard before the Federal Regulatory Betterment Commission. The draft establishes the criteria for classifying types of special and hazardous waste derived from the hydrocarbons sector, determines which types of waste are subject to a waste management plan and details the procedures for formulating such a plan.
The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) recently announced the tender for the commercialisation of hydrocarbons that the state obtains as consideration in exploration and extraction contracts. The CNH indicated that the tendered services will consist of the company that wins the tender selling the hydrocarbons when they are delivered by the private company that extracted them. This action is another example of the new business opportunities that the recent energy reform has introduced.
The National Insurance and Bonds Commission has issued a temporary measure to enable insureds and their beneficiaries to be immediately compensated for damages suffered as a consequence of the recent earthquakes that affected several areas of Mexico. The temporary measure applies to Mexican insurers that have ceded risks to reinsurers and allows them to use funds to meet assumed risks and recover compensation from reinsurers at a later date.
In IP rights proceedings, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) often requires IP rights holders to pay a bond which will cover the damages that could be caused to the infringer following the imposition of preliminary injunction measures. A federal circuit court recently issued a criterion which recognises the right of parties to request the IMPI to adjust the initial bond so that it provides complete coverage for the damages that the provisional measures will cause.
In recent years, Mexico has been rated as having one of the highest rates of credit card fraud in the world. The National Banking and Securities Commission recently published the Resolutions that Modify the General Rules Applicable to Credit Institutions, which require credit institutions to verify information and documentation filed by users and customers with different government bodies in order to assure the identity of each prospective customer.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC) recently released a study on competition in the expired patent drug market, in which it analysed the level of competition in various drug markets following the expiry of an original drug's patent. According to the FECC, several obstacles to competition exist, which ultimately discourage possible new competitors from developing generic versions of drugs and entering the market.
The National Insurance and Bonds Commission recently amended the Sole Provisions on Insurance and Bonds in order to increase legal certainty with regard to the regulatory framework that applies to actuarial, financial and investment functions. These amendments aim to ensure that the commission has the information required to take necessary regulatory action in the event that irregularities are detected and prompt intervention is needed.
The recently published draft Financial Technology Law will regulate the organisation, operation, function and authorisation of companies that offer alternative means of access to finance and investment, the issuance and management of electronic payment funds and the exchange of virtual assets or cryptocurrencies. Among other things, the initative aims to take advantage of the opportunity to expand the financial market to include segments not covered by traditional banking institutions.
Trusts are the most commonly used special purpose vehicle (SPV) in Mexico. Most securitisations involve the use of a trust as the SPV. Trusts are also used for secured loans, and collateral or payment source trusts are often used in Mexican financings to segregate collateral from the debtor. In addition, almost all project finance involves transferring assets to a trust in order for such trust to be the payment vehicle of the transaction. However, a recent court decision may have put these structures at risk.
As Mexico considers its dependence on the United States, it is timely to promote the protection of plant varieties developed in Mexico, as the proper protection of this type of asset will generate wealth, promote innovation and strengthen the economy. At present, 2,511 varieties of 63 species are registered under federal law. These figures are healthy; however, given the agricultural nature of the Mexican countryside, they should be much higher.
Following the latest energy reform and the enactment of the new Hydrocarbons Law in 2014, a new legal concept regarding the legal servitude of hydrocarbons has been introduced. This concept aims to replace direct expropriation by giving landlords more options when negotiating the ownership of properties used by public utilities in the acquisition of land needed for hydrocarbon activities.
The Specialised Competition Court recently annulled the Federal Economic Competition Commission's decision to revoke immunity granted during an antitrust procedure. The court's decision is relevant, as it sets the criteria for determining to what extent an economic agent can challenge the application of law in a specific case.
Following the expansion of shale oil extraction projects and the discovery of unconventional hydrocarbon deposits, the National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently commenced a public consultation process to enact applicable water protection guidelines. The draft guidelines provide a glimpse of the authorities' preliminary approach to shale oil projects with regard to water resources and environmental protection.
Depending on the matter involved, Mexico's IP laws – alone or in combination – provide rights holders with the necessary tools to take legal action against counterfeiting and seize illegal merchandise and obtain preliminary injunctions and seek appropriate remedies against infringement. A clever strategy will help rights holders to keep the costs of anti-counterfeiting initiatives down, while still ensuring that such activities are as effective as possible.
The National Insurance and Bonds Commission recently amended the Sole Provisions on Insurance and Bonds to provide the value of the investment unit that insurers and bonding companies must consider when calculating their required minimum paid-in capital. Insurers and bonding companies must comply with the required minimum paid-in capital each year to ensure that they can meet their financial obligations and responsibilities in the exercise of their activities.
The Industrial Property Law establishes that rights holders can use a mark once they have obtained an exclusive right to do so by registering it with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property. However, to maintain its validity, the registered mark must be used consistently. The consequences that trademark owners face with regard to an unused mark are serious, as they include cancellation.
Being a so-called 'market follower' is a common business strategy in today's consumption-based economy. Companies following this strategy imitate market leaders in a defined market or commercial sector in such a way that enables them to avoid direct confrontation and benefit from the leaders' innovation. While most countries' IP protection rules distinguish between what is and is not permitted with regard to imitation, in Mexico this distinction is unclear.