Mexico is a country with a constantly growing economy. In recent years, it has stood out in Latin America as the country with the greatest breeding ground startups , according to data provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The Ministry of Economy indicates that an average of 35,000 small and medium enterprises are created on a monthly basis, of which the main sectors where startups arise, at the national level with financial services, health, information / communication technologies and education.
Startups characteristically integrate technology in their construction and development. Therefore, the use of technology is accompanied by the need to provide protection for a company’s or individual’s ideas, to ensure their business stays profitable. This can be done through the obtaining of patents. In Mexico, parties can apply for and obtain different types of commercial protections according to their needs.
Industrial Protection in Mexico
In Mexico, the institution responsible for receiving, studying and granting trademarks and patents is the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI). In general, everything related to patents and trademarks is outlined in the Industrial Property Law. This framework contains a set of exclusive rights that protect:
- innovative activity materialized in new products
- new procedures
- designs, and
- specific products and services.
In addition to the provisions of the Industrial Protection Law, Mexico also applies the Information System of the Industrial Property Gazette (SIGA). This Gazette is used to notify the commercial world of updates and information about patents or records, as well as any other interest on industrial property.
Forms of industrial protection
Mexico offers a number of ways for people and companies to protect their ideas and inventions:
Patents of invention
An invention patent is one of the main forms of industrial protection. This patent applies to inventions of human creation. This definition includes the transformation of matter or energy that exists in nature for use by humans to meet specific needs.
The invention patent has a validity of 20 non-extendable years, counted from the date of submission of the application.
Utility models refers to objects, utensils, devices or tools that, as a result of a modification in their disposition, configuration, structure or form, present a different function with respect to the separate parts that integrate. An item’s advantages that provide significant measures of usefulness are considered utility models. Utility models that are new and capable of industrial application can be registered.
This type of protection will be valid for 10 non-extendable years, counted from the date of submission of the application. The difference between a patent and a utility model is that a utility model applies to inventions of less technical complexity.
This category is divided into two classes:
- Industrial drawing: all combinations of figures, lines or colors that are incorporated into an industrial product for ornamental purposes and that give it a distinct appearance; and,
- Industrial model: these are constituted by any 3-dimensional form that serves as a type or pattern for the manufacture of an industrial product, which gives it a special appearance as long as it does not imply technical effects.
The registration of industrial designs is valid for 5 years, from the date of submission of the application. This is renewable for successive periods of the same duration up to a maximum of 25 years.
A mark – also known as a brand – is a sign that is perceptible by the senses and capable of being represented in a way that determines a clear and precise object of protection. It distinguishes products or services from others of a similar type or class in the market.
Registrations for marks are valid for 10 years from the date of submission of the application and may be renewed for periods of the same duration.
Adverts are phrases or sentences that are intended to publicly announce establishments or commercial, industrial or service negotiations, products or services, to distinguish them from others of a similar kind.
Protections for commercial adverts will be valid for 10 years from the date of submission of the application and may be renewed for periods of the same duration.
The commercial name of a company or industrial, commercial or service establishment and the right to its exclusive use falls under the trade name protection, and doesn’t require registration. This protection will cover the geographic area of the effective clientele of the company, or establishment to which the commercial name is applied. It will be extended to the entire Republic if there is massive and constant dissemination at the national level of the same or similar names.
The user of a commercial name may request the Institute to publish it in the Gazette. The publication of a commercial name will last 10 years, from the date of submission of the application and may be renewed for periods of the same duration.
Times to obtain industrial protection
Once an application is submitted it is reviewed to ensure it meets the formal requirements, it is published in the Gazette.
After its publication, a substantive examination is carried out. Any observations or requests for clarifications will be made by the IMPI. The business must respond to these requests within the next 2 months of receiving them.
If there are no observations, the IMPI will grant the corresponding rights to the patent holder in a period of time of approximately 30 months from the date of the application’s submission.
Industrial protection rights are exclusively national. A patent grants you exclusive rights to make, use, or sell your invention in Mexico. This does mean that other businesses cannot produce your invention in another country and then import to sell it within the territory if it is patented.
To obtain international protection, it is necessary to consider the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and for specific cases in the European Patent Office.
The costs in Mexico of industrial protection compared to other countries are relatively low.
They can also be divided into two groups:
- Inventions, utility models, industrial designs and integrated circuit layout schemes; and,
- Trademarks, notices and trade names.
Costs for registrations and renewals vary between each patent, but there is a general processing fee categorically applied to these groups. For the first group, in general, the cost to obtain the patent is MX$4550 (approximately US$2300). For the second group, in general the registration cost is MX$2700 (approximately US$1400).
Seek local help
If you want to apply for a patent in Mexico, it is highly recommended that you collaborate with an experienced team to help you in the process. Legal and technical processes can be complex and regulatory compliance is an obstacle if you are expanding your company and are unfamiliar with local laws.
The highly experienced Biz Latin Hub team can assist you and your business in navigating the legal, financial and commercial representation requirements and laws governing Mexico’s commercial environment, and other economic powerhouses in Latin America. Contact us at [email protected] to get help to take your business to multinational horizons.