Penner & Associates - Mexico Law Firm and Business Consulting for Mexico

For professional assistance & information on legal & business matters regarding Mexico and Latin America, please contact:

Please contact us at our Mexico offices located at:
Apartado Postal No. 9
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
TEL. US.: (800) 856-5709
Local Phone (415) 152-3648

e-mail E-MAIL


At our Phoenix or Mexico Offices
P.O. Box 42773
Phoenix, Arizona 85080
Tel: (623) 242-7442

e-mail E-MAIL

Montecito no. 38 Piso 37 Oficina 37
Edificio World Trade Center
Colonia Napolis C.P. 03810
Mexico, Distrito Federal

Tel: (55)5351-0438





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NAFTA , Introduction , Copyrights , Patents , Special Law (Vegetable Species) , Trademarks, Tradenames and Slogans




The North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) address issues concerning intellectual property. The agreement attempts to bring the three countries into the same basic area of protection.


There are federal Laws of Mexico that provide protection and regulate the transfer, use and/or ownership of artistic works, technological knowledge and trade identity in Mexico.

As well, there are federal registries where these rights are fixed in priority and ownership.



The law and Time

The 1996 federal law (Law December 5, 1996, Regulation May 15, 1998) and its amendments provide for protection to the author of literary and artistic works. The rights granted include the exclusive right to enjoy and exploit them and to license them out to third parties (for no more than 15 years at a time- exceptions for longer periods are when due to nature of the work or size of investment and except for computer programs). These rights are for the author's lifetime plus an additional 75 years, can not prescribe against them, and can not be attached. There are many of the works that are protected even if they are not registered. However, it is right to register. The performers, book editors, producers of phonographs and videos are protected for up to 50 years.

Works Covered

The works protected are literary, dramatic, dance, music compositions, sculptures, comics, graphic designs, music, pictorials, architectural renditions, photographics, cinematography, computer programs, productions of broadcasting and television, and all other works that by analogy are considered as artistic or literary works, computer and original database, compendiums of works, anthologies and other databases that are original and different.

Also covered are are adaptations, arrangements, translations compendiums, paraphrases, collections and transformations, as well as, literary and artist works to the extent that they are originals.

The Notice

The author and his authorized agents are to always display the "Derechos Reservados" statement on every copy of his works., along with the "" term.


In order for there to be full protection, registry is to be performed at the National Registry of Copyrights, of the agreements that create, modify, transfer or terminate proprietary rights. Certains rights are granted even if not registered.

Intellectual Property Commission

This commission is the organization charged with the application, compliance and enforcement of the "intellectual property" law.

Treaties or Conventions

See the webpage on this site "TREATIES", subheading Copyrights and Literary Property.




The Law to Promote and Protect Industrial Property (of June 27, 1991 and amended November 18, 1994) was passed to protect the the inventions that are applicable to industrial use.

Works Covered

The new inventions that are susceptible of industrial application (including processes and products) are patentable. For further identification of those works patentable in Mexico, please see Works Patentable in Mexico, on our For Fee Private Webpage, elsewhere on this website.

Works Not Covered

Among the works not covered by this law are: the discovering of anything that already existed in nature, computation programs, surgical methods for treatment, artistic works, and variations of known or existing products.

Mexican Institute of Industrial Property

This agency of the federal government (Mexican Institute of Industrial Property) is charged with the enforcing of said law and protecting the rights granted under it.


In order for there to be full protection, registry is to be performed at the National Registry of Patents, of the agreements that create, modify, transfer or terminate the proprietary rights.

If the party that wishes to file the application is from abroad, the registry will recognize the application date in the foreign country (as the application date in Mexico) provided that the application in Mexico is per the terms of (within the time period set forth in) the applicable treaty or if no treaty then, within 12 months of the foreign filing.

Time Periods

Patents are given for 20 years, however they may expire (and become public domain) prior thereto, if the annual fee (for the patent) is not paid or if the patent is not used (exploited) (not used for 3 years as from the the date the patent is given or 4 years as from the date from the application, whichever is later). Foreign residents are given a 12 month time period in which to file in Mexico after they have filed abroad.


Models may be registered (and thusly protected) for a period of 10 years (as from the application date for the patent). Models are objects, implements, apparatus or tools which, as a result of their modification in their disposition, structure, or configuration, then have a different function regarding their internal parts or have a different advantage in their utilization.

Industrial Designs

Industrial Designs my be registered (and thusly protected) for a period of 15 years (as from the application date for the patent). Industrial Designs are both drawings (which must be related to an industrial product )and industrial models (which must serve as a basis for manufacturing of industrial products).

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are confidential information of an industrial or commercial nature (for use therein) that provide competitive or economic advantage to the holder. To be considered trade secrets by the law, they are to be documented (placed in documents, laser discs, microfilm, electronic or magnetic retrieval means, or other manner) were the information exists in an independent written and drawing (where needed) manner.


Treaties or Conventions

Mexico is a party to the Paris Convention for Protection of Intellectual Property, to which it became a signatory in 1903.

See the webpage on this site "TREATIES", subheading Patents.

No Complusory Licenses on Patents Unless Under Certain Circumstances

No compulsory licenses is granted on a patent: (1) on the grounds of failure to sue, prior to four years following the filing date, or three years following the granting of the patent, (2) when the patent holder or any person he authorizes has been importing the patented product, (3) the applicant for the compulsory license and the patent owner have a right to a hearing with the authorities prior to deciding on the granting, (4) a compulsory license is not exclusive, (5) a person benefited with a compulsory license must start to use within two ears of the granting.


Special Law (Vegetable Species)

There exists a Federal Mexican Vegetable Species Law (as of October 3, 1996). This law protects the rights of holders (and the species) of vegetable species when they are novel, distinguished, stable and homogeneous. However, in cases of government declared country emergencies, or if the species is not used for three (most recent) consecutive years, licenses may be granted to third parties (even if the holder does not agree)

Time Period

These species may be registered. When they are, the holder is given protection for 15 or 18 years (to exclusive exploitation), according to the specific (variety) species.


Trademarks, Trade-names, Slogans and Denominations of Origin


The Law to Promote and Protect Industrial Property (as amended) was enacted on June 25, 1991, with its Regulations approved on November 18, 1994.

Items Covered

This law protects trademarks, commercial slogans, trade-names and denominations of origin.

Items Not Covered

Those words that are in other languages, which in Spanish are not registerable, are also not registerable. Also not registerable are technical names, isolated letters, number, colors, geographical denominations, titles of literary works. The trademarks can not be extended to additional services or products.


There is a registry process, which when complied will provide protection to the holder of the trademark, tradesman and/or commercial slogan.

Time Period

Those trademarks, commercial names, commercial slogans and denominations of origin that are registered are covered for an initial 10 years and can be renewed (if applied for at least 6 months in advance to expiration) for a second 10 years (If the registry is for two or more classes, then extension of one apply to the others). If there are treaties, then the application in Mexico will be the same as provided in the treaty (the date of application in the foreign country of origin). If there is no treaty, then the original foreign application date is recognized if the application in Mexico is made with 6 months of the foreign application.

Commercial Slogans

Slogans are phrases or sentences which are to advertise public commercial and/or industrial establishments or businesses (including service providers) in such a manner to distinguish them from others of similar type.

Commercial Names

This includes commercial names of industrial or commercial businesses or establishments (including rendering services business). These are protected without registry in those geographical areas where the business/establishment is established and will extend to the country if advertising is to that extent.

A simple application of use of a commercial name in the official newspaper is sufficient to show date of commencement of use and will be used as the start date for the application.

Denominations of Origin

The name of a geographical location or area of the country (Mexico) which defines a product as originally form that area when quality and characteristics are due exclusively to the geographical region (including natural and human elements) , is the definition of "Denomination of Origin". The denominations of Origin are owned by the Mexican government (the country) and their use can be applied for and received when the applicant is engaged in extraction, production, or manufacturing of products connected to a given geographical location.

Treaties or Conventions

See the web page "TREATIES on this site, subheading "Trademarks"