Issue #
September 2008

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Famous and Commonly Recognized Trademarks

September 17, 2008

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.

Mexico Passes New Law Regulating Credit Unions

September 17, 2008

On August 29, 2008 Mexico published a new Credit Union Law (Ley de Uniones de Crédito) in the Official Journal of the Federation (Diario Oficial de laFederación). The purpose of such new law is to regulate the creation and operation of Credit Unions, as well as the transactions they may carry out. The newlaw repeals various provisions of the General Law of Organization and Activities of Auxiliary Credit Institutions (Ley General de Organizaciones yActividades Auxiliares del Crédito or “LGOAAC”). In accordance with such law, companies that have been authorized to operate under the terms of theLGOAAC are classified as level I operations, which means that they must maintain minimum paid in capital of at least the peso equivalent of two millioninvestment units (unidades de inversion or UDI). Companies operating at this level that do not have such minimum capital must within five years demonstratetheir compliance, or lose their authority to operate as Credit Unions. The law also establishes operation level II and operation level III. Credit Unions withlevel II operations must have at least three million UDIs of paid in capital and level III operations must have paid in capital of at least five million UDIs. LevelII and III operations may issue or obtain loans from other Credit Unions, carry out factoring and financial leasing operations, while the role of serving as atrustee in a guarantee trust is reserved only to those Credit Unions with level III operations. The decree states that the Mexican National Banking andSecurities Commission (Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores or CNBV) will be the responsible authority for issuing minimum guidelines to which CreditUnion will be subject for their credit policies, qualification of asset credit worthiness, liquidity and internal risk management standards, among others. Theoperation of Credit Unions will be supervised by the CNBV and violations to the rules will be subject to sanctions contained in the new law ranging from 200to 100 thousand times the daily minimum salary in force in Mexico’s Federal District. It is important to note that Credit Unions have a term of 180 days to filetheir Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for approval by the CNBV.