30 November 2016TrademarksHector Chagoya

A modernisation drive in Mexico

Despite the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) undertaking great efforts to make local IP offices more widely available in Mexico, the office’s reach is still geographically limited. The need for electronic tools to be available to people living in small or faraway communities has become apparent as industrial property awareness seems to have increased in the Mexican business community. Things seem to be changing for the better.

In 1998, two free databases based on IMPI’s official gazettes for patents and trademarks were launched—they were the pioneers of IMPI’s electronic platforms servicing the public. Further tools were developed, such as a database linked to IMPI’s internal trademark systems and another database for identifying patents that were not filed in Mexico.

The next big step in this field took almost a decade: the implementation of the Electronic Gazette System. This system included PDF images (processed via optical character recognition) of all official gazettes issued in print in the recorded history of trademarks and patents in Mexico. In addition, a limited set of granted patent file wrappers was made available electronically for the first time.

Meanwhile, advances in the financial world made it necessary to have an electronic system that made it possible to electronically link payments of IMPI services to bank deposits or electronic transfers. The Payment and Electronic Services Portal (PASE) was then put into operation.

The first e-filing tool, Trademarks On-line (TOL), arrived in 2012, and the Designs On-line (DOL) system was launched shortly afterwards. The TOL and DOL systems were not in general use then because of two concerns: a weak legal basis, and system limitations regarding quality and size of uploaded images.

The intention to have efficient e-filing systems was in the mind of all officers at IMPI but the resources were not as easy to obtain from the federal government. Fortunately, and because one of the strategic goals of the current government is to make all services to the public electronically available, such resources were finally allocated and IMPI was able to work faster on this goal than before.

"it is evident that the need for filing such documents physically in their original form would nullify all advantages of electronic filing."

The existing systems were updated and the scope of the electronic services broadened so that it was technically feasible for almost all the services to be provided by IMPI, with all of them being linked to PASE in order to avoid lack of payment of government fees.

New rules for e-filing

In March 2016, the biggest step towards a serious change was taken: the issuance of rules for electronic filing, and the launch of the patents and notifications online systems.

The new rules were issued on March 14, 2016, published on March 18, and enacted the day after. The services included in the system are:

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