On June 1st, 2016 the Decree reforming some provisions of the Industrial Property Law, and in which the Opposition System in Mexico is implemented has been finally published in the Federal Government Gazette. Therefore, the opposition system will enter into force in our trademark procedure on August 30, 2016.
Before this reform, the only way to oppose the registration of pending applications in Mexico was through the filing of unofficial writs called “observations from third parties” which, might or might not be taken into consideration by examiners during substantive assessment. Now with this major reform, a more interactive environment is expected and, in consequence, competitiveness, as well as dynamism and culture of IP rights protection in our country shall also be improved with this implementation.
Furthermore, not only will the implementation of the opposition system strive for greater interaction between applicants, opponents and examiners, but also it will increase the legal certainty since examiners will be able to obtain relevant information from both, the opponent and the applicant, that might widen and change the perspective in the matter and, with this, the final decision. That is, whilst it is true that the opposition will not be binding, it is also true that all the information, arguments and evidence presented in the appropriate procedural moment, might dissuade the examiner.
On the other hand, it is important to consider that cancellation actions based on registrations mistakenly or inadvertently granted by the Institute shall still be available; however, it is also expected that, with the implementation of the opposition system, the number of incorrect determinations and, consequently, the number of this type of cancellation actions be decreased.
Finally, it cannot be ignored the fact that the implementation of the opposition system will affect the length of the trademark prosecution. Nonetheless, such impact is minimal which considering that this will not be an independent procedure within the trademark registration prosecution nor will it suspend the registration procedure, added to the short times established for publication, opposition and response. Therefore, the trademark registration system in Mexico will continue being a swift system but much more efficient.