Famous and Commonly Recognized Trademarks

September 17, 2008
Famous and Commonly Recognized Trademarks

Mexican Intellectual Property Law has as one its purposes the protection of manufacturers and sellers of goods, as well as services providers, in relation to thedistinctive trademarks they use for their products or services, as well as protecting the public consumer by avoiding confusion of such protected products orservices in the marketplace. For this purpose, Mexico’s Industrial Property Law (Ley de la Propiedad Industrial) contains a catalog of names, designs for threedimensional figures (marks) that may not be registered as trademarks noting that, among others, trademarks called or known as “commonly known” and“famous” may not be registered. In the past, Mexican law only recognized “commonly known” marks establishing a prohibition against registering trademarksthat Mexico’s IMPI deemed as commonly known, according to their general and subjective criteria, without establishing a specific procedure for determininghow commonly known a trademark was. Beginning in 2005, Mexican law changed and established a specific proceeding to obtain an administrativedeclaration of the existence of a “commonly known” or “famous” trademark, distinguishing these categories with full precision. In this manner, the capacity ofthe Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) was established to issue declarations concerning the commonly known or famous status of trademarks. TheIMPI defines the term “commonly known” (known by a determined sector of the population) and famous (known by a majority of consumers), and establishesrequirements for obtaining a declaration of commonly known or famous status. In general, the law provides the rules for obtaining such a declaration. Oftentimes industrial property rights, and in this case trademarks, constitute an important asset of their business and service providing owners, so it is worthanalyzing whether or not a company may have a “commonly known” or “famous” mark that may be protected by obtaining registration with the IMPI.

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