Over the passage of time and in accordance with the opening of borders for the development of industry andcommerce, one observes among the various countries of the world a growing similarity in their respective legislationregarding intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, etc., which situation is aspecific result of the level of commercial exchange that currently exists in the world economy. As such, over timevarious international treaties have been developed in order to, among other things, orient the meaning of nationallaws. Countries that adhere to such treaties or conventions have agreed to observe and recognize in their domesticlaws the minimum benefits recognized in favor of holders of such rights, which consequently means that minimumlevels of protection are similar in several different countries. Mexico forms part of the well-known “Paris Conventionfor the Protection of Intellectual Property”, which among other aspects recognizes such-called “priority rights” whichmeans that the date upon which the registration of rights was made in one country it is recognized as the date of filingin other countries that adhere to such convention. In regard to trademarks, the term for claiming priority rights is sixmonths after filing in the country of origin, while for patents said term is 12 months. Later, Mexico became a memberof the Patent Cooperation Treaty (known by its initials PCT), which extended considerably the period for claimingpriority. In addition, Mexico is a member of the Berna Convention for the Protection of Artistic and Literary Workswhich has achieved in various national laws recognition of worldwide validity of copyrights, and as a result theirefficacy, solely by being recognized in one country. Finally, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)Mexico is also a party to the Agreement Concerning Intellectual Property Rights for Associated Commerce, whichcontain rules for protecting various intellectual property rights, emphasizing the obligation to offer patents to all typesof industrial activity. The above referenced laws are not isolated, but instead are the consequence of increaseinternational business and the clearly growing need for owners of intellectual property rights to protect their rights invarious territories, whether or not they are actually operating in such countries, or in prevention of closeincorporations in new markets.
On April 4, 2011 on the same date as the “Day of Competition 2011” the Mexican Federal Competition Commission(Comisión Federal de Competencia or COFECO) published new reference documents, guides and criteria regardingeconomic competition. The new documents if published at such event are the following: (i) referenced documentconcerning the definition of “relevant markets”; (ii) reference document concerning the determination of “substantialpower in the market”; (iii) guide for providing notice of economic concentration; and (iv) draft of technical criteria forthe imposition of fines in economic competition matters. Prior to issuing these documents, the COFECO had alreadyprepared and published a guide concerning the immunity and sanctions reduction program, a guide for compliance byassociations, business chambers and professional associations, as well as a reference document for the taking ofsurveys; so that these new documents become part of a series of action that have been undertaken by COFECO for thepurpose of making its activities more transparent and achieving greater certainty with respect to its resolutions, all inbenefit of those economic parties who are regulated. These measures are based on the results of public consultationson transparency carried out between February and April 2010, which had as its primary result the stated interest ofeconomic parties in the authorities preparing and publishing these types of guides, criteria and instructions, followingthe tendency of competition agencies acting in recognized countries in the world, such as the United States ofAmerican and United Kingdom. The addition to these documents and taking as a reference the results obtainedthrough the public consultation process, the COFECO has also improved its database for providing public access byinternet to all cases in process and the history of resolutions it has taken. The authorities have also implementedmodifications in the format of their resolutions in order to enable parties to see how the commissioners voted and howthe measures tending to equalize access and protection of confidentiality and information within their files have beenimplemented. It is worth noting that the COFECO has stated that in the near future it will publish other documentsadding to those referred to above, with the purpose of completing the actions proposed to improve its regulatorymandate. Among the documents that are expected and pending publication is one regarding collaboration betweencompetitors and vertical market restrictions. Finally, note that none of these documents creates legal rights orobligations, but instead are only a source of reference or guide not intended to substitute the text of the applicablecompetition law, and thus such simply explain and add to the available information for the benefit of economicparties. Therefore, under special circumstances merited in a case, the COFECO would be completely authorized todepart from the contents of such documents, so long as the COFECO’s action is based expressly on provisions of theapplicable competition law. At CCN, we are available to discuss any questions one might have regarding these topics and we also inform our readers that the above documents and recently published guides may be consulted directly atthe webpage of the COFECO at: http://www.cfc.gob.mx/index.php/HOME-carousel/dia-de-la-competencia-506.html
Mexico’s labor law is a statute whose formation was a product of the demands of groups of workers within arevolutionary process (1910-1917) and later created as a result of demand of a corporatist structure of the governingpost-revolutionary regimes, and others who are claiming to be rightful heirs of the Mexican Revolution. In theMexican Constitution of 1917, which is still in force, a provision (article 123) but over time has been amended andwhich establishes the principles of Mexican Labor Law. This Constitutional provision also has served as the basis forother labor regulatory provisions, most importantly the Federal Labor Law (Ley Federal del Trabajo or FLT). Today,the need to make changes to the LFT has become evident since labor practices have surpassed the expectations andconditions contemplated in this law. Recently the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) proposed a reform of theLFT which, among its principle points, contemplates the following: (i) to not change the principles in article 123 ofthe Political Constitution and the fundamental rights of workers in Mexico; (ii) to regulate the concept of“outsourcing” or companies providing personnel services; (iii) to integrate important changes in the hiring process,such as trial periods, initial training agreements and temporary workers; (iv) to harmonize various articles referring toemployer obligations to provide training of its employees on a permanent basis, extending the obligation to receivesuch training to the employees themselves; (v) strengthening a key factor in labor lawsuits, which is the conciliationefforts of the parties at any stage of the litigation process; (vi) to contemplate a regulation concerning digitaldocuments, electronic signatures or passwords; (vii) to establish a summary proceeding to handle conflicts arisingfrom social security contributions, housing contributions and contributions to workers retirement funds.