By Oscar M. Becerril

The exhaustion of patent rights is provided for and duly regulated by the Mexican Industrial Property Law which, in its article 22, states that a patent will not produce any effect whatsoever against any person who commercializes, acquires or uses the patented product or the product obtained by means of the patented process, after said product has been legally introduced in the marketplace.

Also, in connection with patents referring to living matter, the same above mentioned article of the Mexican law states that a patent will not produce any effect against any person who utilizes, places into circulation or commercializes the patented products for purposes other than multiplication or propagation, after said products have been legally introduced in the marketplace by the patentee or a licensee thereof.

As the above provisions of the Mexican law do not mention in any respect what is meant by "marketplace", there have been some doubts as to whether or not they may be interpreted as implicitly containing an authorization for allowing parallel imports of patented goods. The interpretation adopted by the Mexican Patent Office, however, is that the above mentioned provisions of the law do not imply in any respect parallel imports. It must be mentioned, however, that no court decision has been issued in the above respect as yet, although interviews with some judges have also shown that the criterion that will be held by the courts will be the same as that held by the Patent Office, that is, that parallel imports are not permitted in the field of patent rights, regardless of the fact that they are fully permitted in the field of trademarks.

The content of this article is intended only to provide general guidelines related to this particular matter. For your specific circumstances, full specialist advise is recommended.