Effective as of January 1st 1998 the Mexican Law of Industrial Property was amended in order to include a new Chapter introducing legal protection for Topographies of Integrated Circuits.

Topographies are registrable with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and corresponding registration has a duration of ten year as of the filing date of the application.

According to the amendments a topography is registrable if the following conditions are met:

  • the topography is original; and
  • an application for registration is filed with IMPI before the topography is first commercially exploited or within two years.

Considered as original topographies are the lay-out designs that are the result of their creator's own intellectual effort and are not commonplace among creators of lay-out designs and manufacturers of integrated circuits at the time of their creation.

The registration of a topography gives the holder the right to prevent a third party, without its authorization:

  • reproducing a protected topography; or
  • importing, selling or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes a protected topography, an integrated circuit incorporating it or a good incorporating an integrated circuit having, in turn, the protected topography.

Thus, action for infringement may be taken in accordance with the Law of Industrial Property against any person that commits the above mentioned acts. In addition, the Law includes innocent infringement provisions.

On the other hand, the Law specifically states that no compulsory licenses are available for topography registrations.

Finally, according to Transitional Article Second the Law will be applicable only to topographies which first commercial use, in its entirety or any part thereof or by incorporation in an integrated circuit, occurs after January 1st, 1998.

This article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should NOT be treated as legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought by you about your particular case and special circumstances.