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.
On August 27, 2009 amendments to Mexico’s Commercial Code (Código de Comercio) were published in the Official Journal of the Federation (Diario Oficial de laFederación or DOF) through which an additional section named “SoleRegistry for Real Property Guaranties (RUG)” was added to such law. In addition, onSeptember 23, 2010, additional amendments to the Commercial Code were published regarding the rules of operation of the RUG, including a section of the PublicRegistry of Commerce (Registro Público de Comercio or RPC), which is exclusively under the control of Mexico’s Department of the Economy (Secretaría deEconomía or SE). The RUG will feature registration of documents through digital means and a national database for commercial legal documents through whichparties may create, modify, transfer or cancel real property guaranties, including pledges, liens, special privileges or rights of retention regarding real property.. It ishoped that through the RUG a unified registry will offer increased certainty regarding the granting of real property guaranties, while reducing the risk present infinancing transactions in Mexico. Naturally, one of the fundamental elements for the RUG to be successful is the means that will enable parties to easily identify, at alow cost, which debtors have granted guaranties over their real property to third parties.
Recently the Second Chamber of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) issued two important decisions (although they have not yet been published) in the fieldof Mexican labor law. The first refers to case decision 2a./J. 134/2010, under the heading “Evidence in Labor Lawsuits. In the validation of evidence, the presumption that in case of any doubt, such doubt must be resolved in favor of the employee, is hereby inapplicable.” In such case, the Second Chamber determined that in the process of validating evidence submitted in labor lawsuits, labor courts may not rely on the principle that, in case of any doubt as to the admissibility of evidence, such doubt must be resolved in favor of the employee, as per Article 18 of the Mexican Federal Labor Law (Ley Federal del Trabajo). This is based on the purpose of such principle being to reduce doubt in the interpretation of labor regulations, while the final effect of evidence, and its interpretation, “is to determine the veracity of the facts set forth in the lawsuit, which may be subject only to rules of logic, rationality, experience and knowledge.” The second decisions case 2a./J. 13/2011, under the heading “Employee Salary. The savings fund is an integral part of same,” in which the Second Chamber held that, in regard to employee savings funds, “the portion contributed by the employer is part of the integrated salary of the employee and constitutes a non-legal form of consideration received by employees in exchange for their work, which in addition to increasing their personal property, has as its purpose the primary function of creating a habit of saving money.” Such decision, according to the SCJN, is consistent with various prior decisions examining the elements that comprise an employee’s integrated salary, as well as the nature of savings funds themselves. It is worth noting that the two decisions referred to herein remain pending to be published in the Judicial Weekly of the Federation.