Article 90 of the Mexican Industrial Property Law establishes various restrictions as to trademarks. These restrictionsinclude the prohibition of the use within trademarks of codes of arms, flags or emblems of any country, officialsymbols or seals adopted by a state, and names or graphic representations of official insignia, medals or other suchawards. Inclusively, this law prohibits the imitation of previously registered trademarks which are descriptive of theproducts or services sought to be covered, and imposes other similar restrictions. In this instance, we wish to highlightprohibitions on registering trademarks that are “translated from other languages, creative spelling variations of pre-existing marks, or artificial constructions of non-registerable words.” It is understood that international marketingspecialists must employ their creativity to ensure that the general public can easily identify products or services beingsold by their corresponding trademark. However, while this creativity is usually the key to a successful trademark, itis not acceptable when utilized to manipulate applicable legal provisions and is the reason why these restrictions exist.When one is told that a trademark cannot be registered under a particular name as such is merely descriptive orbecause it imitates another mark, human ingenuity immediately sets in to develop another trademark which may notappear to violate any prohibition at first glance. Many times this is inadvertently achieved by translating suchtrademark to another language or finding a creative spelling variation for the mark. Consequently, it is due to thesespecific reasons that the aforementioned restrictions in Mexican Industrial Property Law were developed in order tostrengthen intellectual property law and to ensure that the restrictions it imposes on trademark registration are noteasily bypassed by the use of creative techniques.
Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution establishes that the right to own private property is subject to “measures asdictated by the public interest…,” in the manner that competent authorities, at the federal, state and municipal levels,deem necessary in order to impose the “necessary measures to maintain order in human settlements and establishadequate provisions, uses, reservations and purposes for land, waters and forests…” The Mexican territory is subjectto a complex legal framework with coordination deficiencies among the different levels of government and gaps inthe implementation of laws in this area. The foregoing entails the need to carefully review land use and zoningauthorizations in commercial, industrial, tourist, residential and all other types of real estate projects. The MexicanFederal Government primarily intervenes in the determination of land use when establishing urban development plansand in the approval of land uses subject to environmental matters arising from the nature of the project itself or theenvironmental impact that may result from developing property on forest land. Mexican states have the authority toestablish urban development laws applicable within their territorial limits which establish the types of land use permitted, and the rules for approval of specific land uses, among other matters. This legal framework is the startingpoint for municipalities to create urban development plans within their jurisdictions which includes the assignment ofspecific land uses pursuant to zoning regulations, compatibility, construction density, and other aspects. In themajority of cases, state urban development laws and municipal urban development plans have provisions establishingthat any action contrary to a determined land use contained in an urban development plan is invalid. This underscoresthe importance of confirming compatibility of land use with the applicable urban development plan, and obtaining thespecific land use approval corresponding to a project. The foregoing should be done concurrently with thedetermination of environmental implications and compatibility of the project with the respective local and federalenvironmental authorities.
On May 4, 2011, the Technical Council of the Mexican Social Security Institute (Instituto Mexicano del SeguroSocial or IMSS) published Decree No. ACD0.SA3.HCT.270411/120.P.DIR in the Official Journal of the Federationin which such council approved the use of the Advanced Electronic Signature (Firma Electrónica Avanzada or FIEL)and its respective digital certificate, so that authorized public accountants may review compliance with employerobligations in Social Security matters, carry out corresponding transmittals regarding employer registrations, andpresent notices for the review and audit of Social Security matters before the IMSS. The cited Decree also approvesguidelines for the adoption of the FIEL issued by the Taxpayer Administration System (Administración Tributaria orSAT) of the Mexican Department of Treasury, in those electronic transmittals that authorize public accountants tocarry out matters before the IMSS. Overall, the approved guidelines establish that: 1) the FIEL replaces thehandwritten signature and certifies the validity of the document; 2) the IMSS will issue an electronic receipt notice,which will be the means of evidencing the filing; 3) authorized public accountants must advise the IMSS of anychanges in a company’s registration, subject to penalties including the revocation of the FIEL for failure to do so; 4)information provided remains the responsibility of those public accountants who utilize such; and, 5) a publicaccountant may at any time cancel the company’s FIEL registration before the IMSS.
Recently, the First Chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación orSCJN) met in private session to approve decision 1a./J.58/2010, titled “Purchase and sale with reservation of title. Thecontract constitutes equitable title to demonstrate possession of property in the capacity of an owner in order to asserta claim for adverse possession.” In such decision, the SCJN held that a purchase and sale agreement with reservationof title constitutes equitable title that allows a party to assert a claim for adverse possession “given that the purchaseris in possession of the property as an owner or titleholder and the possession is absolute and not derived.” Theforegoing applies notwithstanding the provisions in Mexico’s Federal Civil Code, in the sense that insofar as legaltitle has not been transferred to the purchaser, the purchaser will be considered a lessee since the payment ofcorresponding rent is intended to protect the seller in case of a rescission of the agreement.