Mexican IP – Designations of Origin

March 16, 2010
Mexican IP – Designations of Origin

In conformity with applicable Mexican laws governing the concept of Designations of Origins (Denominación de Origen) “the name of a country’s geographic region may serve to designate a product originating from such region, which has certain qualities or characteristics pertaining exclusively to such geographic region, including natural and human factors”. Mexican law grants ownership to such designations of origin to the government, which is to say that the government is the only party that may own such designations of origin. This single concept exists in order to protect the consumer who, upon knowing the designation of origin and the products acquired from such region, knows that the products have complied with a series of rules and regulations that apply specifically to that product. Thus, a product may not be given the designation of origin unless it meets certain natural and human characteristics. Given the importance arising from designations of origin, which are held by the various countries that own such designations, and which may generate significant revenue, Mexico has become a part of the legal system protecting designations of origin known as the “Lisbon Agreement on the Protection of Designations of Origin and their International Registration”. For their part, based on the fact that Canada and the United States of America have not joined the Lisbon Agreement, the three members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have concluded a special agreement for “distinctive products” which has resulted in the following: i) Mexico and Canada recognize and have agreed to not allow products known as Bourbon Whisky and Tennessee Whisky to enter their countries if they have not been made in accordance with the guidelines of these U.S. products; ii) Mexico and the United States of America have agree to respect, in the same manner, Canadian Whisky; and iii) theUnited States of America and Canada have agreed to respect the designations of origin for “Tequila” and “Mezcal”. Parties desiring to utilize a designation of origin must request approval from the Mexican Industrial Property Institute (Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial or IMPI) demonstrating that they have fully complied with all of the guidelines and requirements that are necessary for the product to be called by the desired designation of origin. Authorization for using such a designation of origin lasts ten years and may be extended by the government for equal successive terms.

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