Understanding the Basics of Intellectual Property Protection in Mexico

09.09.21

Intellectual property (IP) protection is a concern for any foreign manufacturer. With laws and trade regulations differing from country to country, it’s important to understand that what may protect you in the U.S. may not hold the same weight elsewhere. In fact, concerns regarding China’s failure to protect and enforce IP rights have been one of the key issues between the U.S and China for years.

 

Conversely, IP protection for those manufacturing in Mexico has only strengthened over time, particularly with increased commitments addressed in the USMCA. It’s necessary to recognize how crucial IP is to the U.S. economy. Industries that rely on IP support roughly 45 million jobs and 38 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. As the economy has increasingly moved towards the digital sphere, recognizing and protecting IP has only continued to grow.

How Mexico Enforces Intellectual Property Protection

In addition to the USMCA and the 11 other free trade agreements Mexico is part of, the country enforces IP protection through a number of agencies, each owning a specific responsibility when it comes to trademark, copyright, and other IP concerns. These government agencies include:

 

  • The Office of the Attorney General – Formerly known as the Fiscalía General de la República or FGR, this agency oversees a specialized unit that prosecutes intellectual property rights crimes. This unit is referred to as the Unidad Especializada en Investigación de Delitos contra los Derechos de Autor y la Propiedad Industrial (UEIDDAPI).
  • Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial – The IMPI administers patent and trademark registrations and handles administrative enforcement cases involving allegations of intellectual property rights infringement.
  • Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor (INDAUTOR) – Known as the National Institute of Copyright, this agency is responsible for copyright registrations as well as mediating certain types of copyright disputes.
  • Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (COFEPRIS) – The Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks is responsible for regulating medical devices, as well as pharmaceuticals and processed foods.
  • Mexican Customs Service – Aduanas, which is part of the Servicio de Administración Tributaria, ensures illegal goods don’t cross Mexico’s borders.

 

Both the oversight structure and regulations vary from what’s enforceable in the U.S., and it’s up to companies manufacturing in Mexico to understand the differences. Fortunately, a shelter provider shoulders the responsibilities of trade compliance as part of the many services it offers, allowing foreign manufacturers to stay protected when operating under Mexico’s laws.

Intellectual Property Protection Under the USMCA

When the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed upon a new trade agreement, they updated regulations to meet what’s needed in today’s landscape. The USMCA recently became enforced in July 2020 and highlights several IP rights and enforcement required throughout all three countries.

 

Chapter 20 of the USMCA covers intellectual property rights and protection at length, highlighting areas such as copyright, trade secrets, and trademarks. It outlines the terms of each provision, specifics of how to ensure effective protection, and how long each protection period lasts. These protocols are in addition to Mexico’s separate IP protection and enforcement.

 

Understanding intellectual property rights in Mexico can be a complicated matter. However, with the help of an experienced shelter company like IVEMSA, you can begin to understand how different IP laws affect your operation and rest assured that you’re in compliance.

 

Interested in manufacturing in Mexico? Contact us today for how our shelter services solution can help.

 

Sources:

https://www.trade.gov/knowledge-product/mexico-trade-agreements

https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/mexico-protecting-intellectual-property

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