Trademarks that Mislead the General Public

February 4, 2011
Trademarks that Mislead the General Public

Intellectual property law grants protection to holders of trademarks and various distinctive symbols through the granting of an exclusive privilege over such marks.However, it is also true that in Mexico the law aims to protect the general public, particularly those who acquire products or services based on their knowledge of such a trademark or distinctive symbol. Previous IP Notes articles have referred to the various impediments established by the Mexican Industrial Property Law (Ley de Propiedad Industrial) to registering trademarks, such as when the proposed marks are, for example, merely descriptive, generic, widely-known, famous, etc. Inaddition to these, another types of mark exists that are not subject to registration, including: “those names, figures or three-dimensional forms that are likely to mislead the general public or cause errors, including, for such purposes, marks with false indications or information concerning the nature, components or qualities of the products or services such marks seek to cover.” It is not uncommon for parties to seek the registration of marks that appear to be maps or names of places or seem to be descriptive or generic, without really being so, all the while generating confusion as to the nature, components, quality, etc. of the products or services covered, in an attempt to mislead consumers and the general public.These would fall within the limitation described above and, to the extent they create confusion in the market, should not be protected.

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