Mexico recently became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Chapter 20 of which is one of the most comprehensive IP chapters in any trade agreement. Although the 2018 amendments to Mexico's IP laws provided for most of the specific rights required under the USMCA, the country still has a lot to do to provide for the obligations regarding geographical indications, data exclusivity, trade secrets and enforcement.
In 2018 the rules for notifying the issuance of a patent, utility model or industrial design application were amended. Thus, all notices issued by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) must be published via the Official Gazette. In a broad interpretation of this reform, the IMPI now provides only digital copies of letters patent and utility model and industrial design registrations. While this interpretation may be inaccurate, it aligns with the global trend of digitalisation among IP offices.
The 2018 changes to the Mexican patent system are not looking promising for patent prosecution. By way of the amendments, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property has implemented a new system whereby it will issue official communications to applicants through its Official Gazette instead of personally or by certified mail. Applicants should exercise extreme caution in order to avoid a loss of rights due to a failure to monitor and identify issued office actions.
The need to control costs in jurisdictions where government fees increase substantially based on the number of claims often forces patent practitioners to use various claim drafting strategies, including multiple dependent claims. However, multiple dependent claims must be drafted carefully, as there is a risk that they could be considered unclear or contain features which are inconsistent with those of the claims on which they are based.
The new government will have a significant impact on the Mexican IP framework. In particular, it has introduced numerous policy changes to fulfil its objectives of providing greater social benefits to marginalised citizens and promoting the economic development of indigenous communities. Among other initiatives, the Institute of Industrial Property will attempt to meet these objectives by promoting the protection of denominations of origin and geographical indications.