The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) has published its official statistics for the period from 1993 to the first half of 2021. The report is useful and interesting, and demonstrates the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on IP rights in Mexico. This article explores the report's key findings.
Number of invention applications filed
2015 was the last year in which the IMPI registered an increase in filings of inventions before the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office. In 2015, applicants filed 22,741 inventions, which represented an increase of 8.68% compared with the previous year. Nonetheless, from 2016 to 2019, the number of inventions filed started to steadily decrease by an average of 2.71% per year.
During 2019, the number of applications decreased by 3.93% (20,371 applications). In 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic reached Mexico, the number of applications decreased by 10.20% (18,293 applications).
The first half of 2021 has registered an important recovery – so far, 10,313 inventions have been filed before the IMPI. This number represents an increase of 12.75%, taking into consideration a linear extrapolation compared with the first half of 2020 (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: number of invention applications filed
Use of electronic filing
One of the main objectives of the IMPI's former general director was to modernise the IMPI's technological infrastructure and the offering of electronic services to IP system users. The pandemic has contributed to the use of these services in order to avoid a situation similar to that in 2020 when the IMPI suspended activities following measures implemented by the secretariat of health. During this period, filings were made by electronic means only.
During 2020, inventions filed electronically represented 87% of the overall applications. In 2019, this method was used by only 39% of users.
In the first half of 2021, 92% of filings came from electronic applications (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: number of invention applications filed electronically
Country of origin
With regard to the country of origin of patent applications, the United States is still the most important country, with 16,903 applications filed from 2019 to the first half of 2021. Mexico ranks second, with 2,965 cases, followed by Germany. Figure 3 shows the top 10 countries.
Figure 3: country of origin of patent applications
Number of distinctive sign applications filed
The number of distinctive signs registered has been growing consistently since 2010 despite the covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the IMPI received practically the same number of applications as the previous year (141,774 compared with 139,787) – in fact, the amount marginally increased by 1.42% (see Figure 4). One of the main reasons why trademarks were less affected by the pandemic was that most applicants used the electronic filing system and the IMPI suspension of activities did not affect this procedure.
Figure 4: number of distinctive sign applications filed
Further, applicants have filed 87,863 cases before the IMPI during the first half of 2021. Taking into consideration a linear extrapolation with respect to the first half of 2020, this figure represents an increase of 24% (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: number of distinctive sign applications filed in the first halves of 2019, 2020 and 2021
Use of electronic filing
As mentioned above, the use of electronic means for trademark matters has increased exponentially in recent years, with an average growth of 30% over the past 10 years. During 2020, applicants filed their cases electronically 86% of the time. In the first half of 2021, electronic filings represented 91% of the total filings (80,243 cases) (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: number of distinctive sign applications filed electronically
Country of origin
Mexico has historically been the country of origin of most distinctive sign applications filed. Taking into consideration applications filed from 2019 to the first half of 2021, second place is occupied by the United States, followed by Germany. Figure 7 shows the top 10 countries.
Figure 7: country of origin of distinctive sign applications
Mexico adhered to the Madrid Protocol in February 2013. From 2013 onwards, the average annual increase in the number of trademark applications filed has been approximately 24% (see Figure 8).
Due to the pandemic, applicants filed only 25,826 cases via the Madrid Protocol designating Mexico in 2020. This represents a decrease of 5% compared with the previous year.
In the first half of 2021, 13,936 applications have been filed designating Mexico. When applying a linear extrapolation with the first half of 2020, this represents an increase of 8%.
Figure 8: Madrid Protocol filings
The above numbers show that IP filings before the IMPI will likely experience a gradual recovery from the pandemic. Nevertheless, the worldwide economic impact will have to be overcome in the short term as well.
On the other hand, from a functional point of view, the IMPI is on the right track to become an electronic office that helps users to perform their operations in a more efficient way.
For further information on this topic please contact Raul Domínguez at Becerril, Coca & Becerril SC by telephone (+52 55 5263 8730) or email ([email protected]). The Becerril, Coca & Becerril website can be accessed at www.bcb.com.mx.