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JURISDICTION REPORT: MEXICO


A NEW SCENARIO: LETTERS OF CONSENT IN MEXICO


Victor Adames Becerril, Coca & Becerril, SC


Te Mexican Law of Industrial Property does not regulate consent letters and/or coexistence agreements, but over the years the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (MIIP) has accepted them on a case-by-case basis.


In general, the authorities have always considered three issues in order to determine whether to accept letters of consent or coexistence agreements. It was necessary that:


• The trademarks were not identical;


• The junior trademark was not included in the senior trademark or vice-versa; and


• The goods and/or services of interest for each mark were different.


(All of these criteria also apply for trademarks that belong to companies of the same economic group.)


Tere were, however, cases in which consent letters and/or coexistence agreements were denied, despite complying with the above criteria. Te rationale given by the examiners was simply that there was nothing established or written in the Mexican law.


Te Supreme Court of Justice has now provided case law with respect to interpretation of the Mexican IP law and the acceptance of letters of consent and/or coexistence agreements, which states the following:


• That the Mexican Law of Industrial Property establishes that a trademark will not be registered if it is identical, or confusingly similar, to a previous registered trademark and is applied to the same or similar goods or services.


• That there is an exception to the above rule, which is that an identical, or confusingly similar, trademark applied to similar goods or services will be allowed, as long as it is filed by the same applicant as the prior one.


• That the above exception as a general law principle must be strictly applied and therefore a third party that is trying to register an identical, or confusingly similar, trademark to a previously registered mark, should not be allowed to achieve registration even if it submits a consent letter and/or both companies pertain to the same corporate group.


Tis case establishes that a consent letter and the fact that both companies pertain to the same corporate group will not be sufficient to have identical or confusingly similar trademarks applied to the same or similar goods or services.


www.worldipreview.com


“THIS COMPLETELY CHANGES THE SCENARIO FOR BIG COMPANIES THAT, DUE TO TAX SITUATIONS OR ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGIES, FILE TRADEMARKS IN THE NAMES OF THEIR VARIOUS SUBSIDIARIES OR PARENT COMPANIES.”


Tis completely changes the scenario for big companies that, due to tax situations or organisational strategies, file trademarks in the names of their various subsidiaries or parent companies. Tey will no longer be allowed to do this. Te case law obliges examiners to follow these new criteria.


It is important that companies are aware of this situation, so that they can take the necessary steps within their trademark portfolios and avoid denial of further trademarks.


Victor Adames is trademark manager at Becerril, Coca & Becerril, SC. He can be contacted at: vadames@bcb.com.mx


World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012 79


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