For many years Mexican law has recognized certain well-known trademarks and prohibited registration with the Mexican IndustrialProperty Institute (IMPI) of marks considered “notoriously known”. Notwithstanding such, until recently Mexican law did not provideclear elements to determine whether or not a mark was notoriously known, thus leaving the issue to the IMPI’s discretion. At the sametime, there was no specific procedure for applying for such a ruling. On June 16, 2005, Mexico published amendments to the IndustrialProperty Law (Ley de la Propiedad Industrial) in order to include a chapter on “famous and notoriously known trademarks”. Someimportant aspects of such amendment refer to the authority of IMPI to issue rulings on the notoriety or fame of a trademark, and publishsuch in the IMPI’s gazette. Now there is a precise definition of “notoriousness” (known by a certain amount of the public), and for thefirst time a reference to “famous” marks (known by a majority of the public), and establishes the specific procedure for obtaining acorresponding ruling. The issuance of the Decree is a positive development given that it grants legal certainty to owners of “notoriouslyknown” and “famous” marks, as well as to consumers. Finally, please note that on September 13, 2007, government filing fees forobtaining such rulings were published in Mexico’s Official Journal of the Federation.
On October 3, 2007 new circulars issued by the National Immigration Institute were published in the Official Journal of the Federationthrough which such immigration agency agreed: (i) to increase the temporary stay from 30 to 180 calendar days on a non-renewablebasis counted from the first day individuals of U.S. and Canadian citizenship enter Mexico to carry out technical or business activities;(ii) to include new countries with which the Mexican government has established visa agreements, which are listed in the followingpoints; and (iii) to increase the temporary stay from 30 to 180 calendar days, on a non-renewable basis, counted from the date of firstentry into Mexico for individuals from Germany, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bulgaria, South Korea,Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovania, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland,Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands,Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Venezuela, legal permanentresidents of Canada, legal permanent residents of the United States of America and permanent legal residents of Japan, and to any othernationality entering Mexico to engage in industrial, commercial, financial and technology development activities and others of aneconomic nature that would benefit Mexico. This type of visa has been used many times in place of an FM3 visa, and is recommendedto those entering Mexico on a sporadic basis. Foreigners entering Mexico under an FMN or FMVC visa, and who need to remain inMexico for a longer time period, may elect to apply to convert their legal status to an FM3 visa.
The First Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice established that Article 101 of Mexico’s Federal Tax Code (Código Fiscal dela Federación) is constitutional and does not violate Article 21 of the Mexican Constitution. The substitution and commutation ofsanctions or other interests of parties convicted of tax crimes involving illegal contraband or fiscal fraud is improper. The idea ofsubstituting the sanction was based on Article 18 of the Constitution. The substitution will be effective once the judicial decision isissued and the party granting judgment may or may not grant it to the prisoner, it being a condition that the state substitute the originalsanction if the judicial authority considers it will be of lesser severity.
The Second Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court recently decided that for purposes of an offer of reinstatement of work to return to ajob with a full day work schedule, in the context of a labor lawsuit, such offer of reinstatement would be considered to be made in goodfaith if it includes a one-half hour lunch break. Based on the provisions of Article 63 of the Federal Labor Law, the court’s decisiontook into account that the inclusion of such rest period in the work day is a minimum condition recognized by the worker, and that itshould be formally included in the work day. As a result, an employee is entitled to regular pay during such break. In this sense,despite the common perception that an employee working a full day shift is required to work eight hours, with the employer granting ahalf-hour rest break for a total of eight hours thirty minutes, such perception is not correct. The court held that Article 63 of the FederalLabor Law provides a minimum half hour rest break, which must be within the eight hour shift, so that in reality the employee worksseven hours thirty minutes, with a minimum half hour break, which is included in the computation of the full work day. Thus, if anemployee works the half hour instead of taking the break, such half hour of work should be treated as overtime. In addition, the courtconfirmed that employees may take their lunch break either on-site or off-site, at their discretion.
The First Chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice recently held, contrary to previous decisions, that an indirect amparo writof appeal could proceed against prior Mexican court decisions in the areas of letters rogatory or requests for judicial cooperationreceived from non-Mexican governmental authorities in the following instances: (i) when said international document does not meet therequirements established in international treaties and Mexican federal laws for their legal existence and compliance; and (ii) when suchinternational document is not notified or served in conformity with Mexican law. The above points will have a direct impact on thelegal status of an affected party, and will be considered as outside the scope of the legal proceeding and a violation of legal andprocedural guaranties. In this manner, an affected party may seek protection from Mexican federal courts in order to obtain a judicialorder directing the foreign authority that issued the international document to correct such document or properly serve the letter rogatoryor request for judicial cooperation that was not properly served, in accordance with a treaty or applicable Mexican federal law.