Mexican Trademark law expressly prohibits the registration of famous and notorious marks. Article 90 of the Industrial PropertyLaw (Ley de la Propiedad Industrial) establishes that “no mark with names, figures or three-dimensional forms, equal to orsimilar to a mark that has been declared notorious or famous in Mexico by the Institute may be registered, with respect toapplications for any product or service.” However it is important to distinguish what marks may be declared famous andnotorious, so the law provides the following definitions: (i) a mark is considered “notorious” in Mexico when a given portion ofthe general public or commercial sector knows the mark as a consequence of commercial activities in Mexico or outside ofMexico of a person using such mark, in relation to its products or services, as a consequence of the promotion or publicity ofsuch mark; and (ii) a mark is understood as famous when it is known by the majority of consumers in the general public. TheIndustrial Property Law establishes procedures for the declaration of a famous or notorious trademark; however, even withoutthe initiation or process of such procedures, Mexico’s trademark authorities have the authority to deem a mark to fall into onecategory or the other.
On June 17 th of this year, regulations to Mexico’s Nationality Law (Ley de Nacionalidad) were published in the Official Journalof the Federation, which entered into force the day following their publication, and which has as their objective regulatingnationality questions and complementing application of the existing Nationality Law. The regulations contemplate various newelements in the nationality field, including the following: (i) introduction of a definition of “Declaration of Mexican nationalityby birth,” understood as a legal instrument for recovering one’s Mexican nationality; (ii) establishment of time limits applicableto various application processes and response times; (iii) detail and clarification of the requirements to comply with obtainingMexican nationality by naturalization, and processes for losing such nationality; (iv) an introduction of a required process forlegal regularization of real property of individuals who have lost their Mexican nationality by naturalization; (v) establishmentof a special section in registration books authorizing nationality granted by the Mexican Department of Foreign Relations(Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores or SRE), and procedures for clarifying and rectifying such matters; and (vi) establishmentof causes for violations to the regulations and applicable fines. In particular, it is worth noting that with respect to real propertyowned by individuals who lose their Mexican nationality by naturalization, obligations are established enabling theregularization of ownership of such property, so that in cases where the property is outside Mexico’s coastal and borderrestricted zones, parties have up to six months to process with the SRE a corresponding permit and citizenship waiveragreement, and if the properties are within the restricted zones, such parties have up to two years to transfer title to an authorizedindividual. If this does not occur, the procedure to revert title to the Mexican state will follow.
A new General Law of Tourism (Ley General de Turismo) was published in the Official Journal of the Federation on June 18,2009. The new Law is designed to delineate the authority of the Mexican Executive branch, States, Municipalities and theFederal District, as well as to coordinate the participation of the public and private sectors in ways that will benefit all of Mexicoover the short, medium and long terms. The Law is fundamentally organic, and its contents geared to be programmaticallyorganized. In this way, the Law establishes that Mexico’s Department of Tourism (Secretaria de Turismo) will modernize,within a year from the date the law becomes effective, the structure of the National Tourism Registry that has existed since theformer law was passed, so that tourism service providers will have one year from entry into force of the new Law to registerthemselves in the National Tourism Registry. This will allow for the creation of a public catalog of tourism services providersthat may be consulted openly, and will provide more certainty and regulation in the tourism sector. In addition, the Lawmentions that the Department of Tourism will issue regulations within 180 calendar days following the day the Law entered intoforce, which will include an administrative restructuring of the agency, adding that the states and Federal District should adapttheir legislation to the new law. It appears the Law lacks sanctions and the means necessary to make it effective, and thusappears merely a programmatic instrument at the government level to allow officials to emphasize the government’s tourismrelated principles and objectives. At the state and municipal levels, voices in opposition to the Law has arisen, including as is thecase of the Federal District, the possibility that a protest can be initiated against the law based on constitutional grounds stating that the Mexican Federal Congress does not have the authority to obligate the states and Federal District to amend their ownlegislation to accord with the terms of the new General Tourism Law.
On June 25, 2009 a decree was published in the Official Journal of the Federation amending Mexico’s Law of CreditInstitutions, Law for Transparency and Order in Financial Services and Law for the Protection and Defense of FinancialServices Users. The purpose of the reforms is to regulate in a more specific manner form adhesion contracts entered into byfinancial institutions, with respect to their active and passive transactions carried out with clients. This includes the drafting ofclauses in such agreements, the obligatory registration of such agreements before the authorities, account statements, executionand termination of the agreements by clients, and the facility of entering into transactions with other financial institutions.Principally, the reforms are focused on consumer credit transactions, which is to say credits, loans or revolving financingassociated with a credit card, expressly granting authority to Mexico’s Central Bank (Banco de México) to regulate interest ratesand commissions. Now only one maximum ordinary interest rate may be agreed to and, as the case may be, one maximum lateinterest charge may apply to credit card agreements. The reforms also establish rules through which financial entities may issueand deliver credit cards to clients and impose the obligation on them to provide expressly in their client account statements allinformation required to pay outstanding debts, including the term needed if the customer is only paying the minimum amount.The Banco de México is also authorized to determine minimum payment amounts to be collected by financial institutions. Inaddition, the amendments prohibit lenders from collecting commissions for overdrafts or attempted overdrafts. Further, clientsare now authorized to terminate or cancel their credit cards at any time. The law establishes tough penalties for financialinstitutions that do not comply with such. The reforms regulate in a more stringent manner the granting and use of credit cards,establishing guidelines for banks granting loans through credit cards as now being regulated and subject to limits on thecollection of interest and excessive commissions.
On May 13, 2009 the Second Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación) issuedcase decision number 2a./J.66/2009 under the title “Tax Receipts. Receipts issued with incomplete or erroneous addressinformation incurs the infraction contained in section VII or Article 83 of the Fiscal Code of the Federation”. Mexico’s highestcourt held that if a tax receipt is not printed with the tax domicile, or such domicile is incomplete or erroneous, the taxpayersubmitting such receipt will incur the penalty set forth in section VII of article 83 of the cited Code. Such Code also considersthe issuance of any such receipt as an infraction itself, by the issuing party, for failing to meet tax requirements, per itsobligation to issue tax receipts with the correct tax domicile of the issuer, also per the terms of the Fiscal Code of the Federation.The high court held that the sanction imposed in article 84, section IV of the Code is correct and in accordance with theprinciple of strict application of tax rules.