Has the intellectual property office/IP Registry of your jurisdiction taken any measures due to Covid-19 and government/state actions to prevent spread of the virus?
Yes. On 31 March 2020, the Ministry of Health published a decree establishing extraordinary actions to deal with the Covid-19 emergency, ordering, among others, the immediate suspension of nonessential activities in order to mitigate the spread and transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus in the community from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020. On 21 April 2020, said decree was modified and the suspension of non-essential activities was extended from 30 March to 30 May 2020.
In accordance with the foregoing, the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office issued a decree by which it decided to suspend, due to force majeure, all activities and deadlines during the period from 24 March 2020 to 30 May 2020. Emphasising that said agency may summon the strictly necessary personnel to attend to the procedures that are necessary to contribute to the mitigation of the effects of the pandemic, to lift preliminary injunctions imposed within an administrative declaration of infringement procedure and to order the suspension of the free movement of goods of foreign origin in the country´s customs.
Likewise, the Federal Copyright Office, decided to suspend, due to force majeure, all activities and deadlines during the period from 26 March 2020 to 29 May 2020, stipulating that only applications that refer to procedures that are offered as an extraordinary administrative measure will be received, which exclusively include the registration of works and contracts, availability searches for reservation of rights, and assignment of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs).
Is it possible to file applications online with the intellectual property office/IP Registry of your jurisdiction? If so, since when?
Yes. The Mexican Patent and Trademark Office initiated the filing of online trade mark and industrial design applications in 2012, and its online system was gradually expanded and developed to later include the reception of patent and utility model applications in 2017. However, the system was not fully perfected and it was not until the middle of 2019 that a new comprehensive electronic services platform was launched.
Through the Electronic Services Access Portal of the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office it is possible to digitally file and sign new online applications for traditional trademarks, patents, industrial models and designs, as well as promotions related to matters of this nature previously processed online.
As from 13 May 2020, the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office implemented an additional tool called 'electronic trade mark office' allowing the filing of trade mark applications (including nonconventional trade marks); renewal petitions; assignment, licence and franchise recordal petitions; responses to official actions; oppositions; and, in general, any proceeding associated to trade mark prosecution and maintenance.
As for the Federal Copyright Office, currently it is only possible to file applications for the registration of works and contracts, availability searches for reservation of rights and assignment of ISBNs and ISSNs.
Is it possible to make payments online direct to the intellectual property office/IP Registry of your jurisdiction? If so, since when?
Yes. Since the online application system was launched it is possible to make payments directly to the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office without having to go to the bank, through credit cards and electronic transfers. For the procedures that the Federal Copyright Office has available online, it is also possible to make the corresponding payment online.
Has the intellectual property office/IP Registry of your jurisdiction made changes to any deadlines/timelines provided for in the law/applicable regulation of your jurisdiction? If so, please provide full details.
No changes have been made to the deadlines/timelines provided in the applicable laws and regulations. The days included in the period of suspension of activities will be considered as nonworking days and the official terms will start or continue to run from the first working day following the end of the corresponding suspension.
Are in-person/online searches possible of the registers/records maintained by the intellectual property office/IP Registry of your jurisdiction? Please provide details including of any changes due to Covid-19 and government/state actions to prevent spread of the virus.
Yes, through the online system SIGA (Information System of the Industrial Property Gazette) (https://siga.impi.gob.mx/newSIGA/content/common/principal.jsf) it is possible to make the online consultation of IMPI's files related to trade marks, slogans, trade names, patents, designs and industrial models. Also, through the MARCia online system (https://marcia.impi.gob.mx/marcas/search/quickes) it is possible to search for trade marks, slogans and trade names. Additionally, through the Electronic Services Access Portal of the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office, it is possible to request official patent and trade mark searches from IMPI.
With respect to the Federal Copyright Office, at the moment it is not possible to carry out in-person or online searches of registry records.
Is it possible for hearings which would normally have to be attended to in person to be conducted online? If so, since when?
No. Both the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Copyright Office suspended all face-to-face procedures and hearings.
Are there any other changes due to Covid-19 and government/state actions to prevent spread of the virus which persons dealing with IP in your jurisdiction should be aware of?
Yes, the Council of the Federal Judiciary (including the Supreme Court of Justice, District and Circuit Courts, as well as the Specialized Court in Intellectual Property Matters) decided to suspend all activities and jurisdictional deadlines until at least 29 May 2020. Temporary guards were implemented to attend to and resolve urgent requests related to preliminary injunctions or the suspension of the claimed act.
Additionally, in order to avoid the backlog of cases once activities are resumed, as of 6 May 2020, the Supreme Court and the Circuit Courts started holding remote sessions to solve cases that are already being processed and that are ready to be decided. The sessions that are held by videoconference are private and the resolution will only be known once the session has concluded, being possible to access the recording of the same until activities are resumed and the decision is personally notified to the parties.
Mexican customs and the Attorney General´s office and other entities devoted to prosecute criminal proceedings related to intellectual property rights continue their operations under certain sanitary restrictions.
Originally Published by International Bar Association.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.