The current situation of the coronavirus-caused pandemic (COVID-19), has led to several changes in all professional fields, generating challenges that everyone will have to get used to. Therefore, some projects that were already being incubated in various areas have suddenly become urgent.
In fact, one of the priorities in the world in the last years has been to gradually replace the use of paper and physical procedures for ecological reasons. However, due to the present situation, it has been necessary to speed up the implementation of the tools that allow that most of the procedures become electronic in order to carry them out remotely.
In this sense, Industrial Property in general has undergone some changes around the world, since some of the offices have suspended their procedures, others have continued with the same face-to-face procedures and granted extensions to submit documentation or, other offices, that did not have the possibility of filing electronically have implemented their respective procedures.
Particularly, the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office has suspended all its deadlines and procedures from late March until the Mexican Health Authorities determine that it is allowed to return to normal activities. However, although the Office already contemplated some electronic services, in the recent months it has implemented new safe and efficient tools to avoid paper procedures, in order to adapt to the new challenges that the situation demands.
Before the pandemic, the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office offered the possibility to file electronic applications and, for proceedings filed and prosecuted in paper, said Office was already issuing all its communications electronically, having the same validity than the prior printed ones. The above, with the aim to gradually replace all the paper with electronic documentation.
Moreover, in relation to the Trademark side, the service that the Mexican Office is recently offering and same that is already in force for users, is the possibility to file recordal and renewal petitions electronically, opposition briefs, as well as the possibility to file responses to provisional refusals and other official communications issued during the corresponding Formal and Substantive Examination, using electronic documents. This will save time for the users, since they may send documentation from anywhere in the country and abroad.
In light of the above, it now can be said that currently in Mexico, it is possible to file and prosecute all trademark procedures contemplated by the Mexican Industrial Property Law, electronically.
It is important to mention that although it is possible to file Patent and Trademark applications, as well as other petitions and responses to official actions, the deadlines and operations will remain suspended until further notice, and consequently, the corresponding legal filing date will be the first business day that the Mexican Office reopens its premises and resumes its activities.
On the other hand, regarding the Patent side, Mexican Office is offering the possibility to the applicants to file a petition for the electronic management of their Patent files, addressed to those who started their process by means of physical documentation. In this sense, the Patent, Utility model and/or Industrial design files may be managed, from now on, electronically (upon request of the applicant).
Furthermore, the Mexican Office is also implementing the operation of an electronic appointment system for the filing of documents related to litigation matters. This tool will also provide the users with the option to first file electronic documents and then late file the original documentation in order for the Office to begin reviewing the corresponding documents and speed up said litigation procedures.
Even though the suspension remains and that it will surely involve a backlog of months for the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office, once it is updated, with all the above new services implemented, will result in the short term in avoiding crowds in order to comply with the health protocols that the current situation demands and thus be able to offer its users the continuity of services even within this global crisis, and in the medium and long term, it will result in legal certainty, compliance with international commitments, support for Mexican and foreign creators, and the complete digital transformation, which in general is strengthening the Mexican Industrial Property system.
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.