What are utility models?
In which technological areas may a utility model be registered?
What trends have been seen with regard to the number of utility models being registered?
How long do utility models last?

Comment


On 5 November 2020, the Industrial Property Law (LPP) was derogated and the Federal Law for the Protection of Industrial Property (LFPPI) entered into force. One of the most significant differences introduced by the LFPPI was the modification of the term of utility models, which increased from 10 years to 15 years. This article provides an introduction to utility models in Mexico.

What are utility models?

"Utility models" are objects, utensils, devices or tools that, as a result of a modification to their layout, configuration, model or structure, have:

  • a different function to the parts of which they are composed; or
  • an advantage with regard to their utility.

A utility model can also be an improvement that gives a new functionality to a utensil, device, tool or machinery that facilitates its day-to-day use. The right obtained by the holder of a utility model is comparable to a patent right, but with a shorter term and without the inventiveness requirement, which is exclusive to patents.

In which technological areas may a utility model be registered?

A utility model may be registered in the following technological areas:

  • articles of use and consumption;
  • diverse industrial techniques;
  • chemistry and metallurgy;
  • textile and paper;
  • fixed constructions;
  • mechanics (eg, lighting or heating);
  • physics; or
  • electricity.

According to the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), most utility models are registered in the technological areas of "articles of use and consumption" and "diverse industrial techniques".

What trends have been seen with regard to the number of utility models being registered?

The number of utility models being registered is increasing. The year 2021 saw the highest ever number of utility models registered (Figure 1). It may be concluded that the extension of the term of utility models went hand in hand with their growth.

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Figure 1: number of utility models registered

How long do utility models last?

Article 62 of the LFPPI states that utility models are valid for 15 non-extendible years, counted from their filing date, and their validity is subject to annual fee payments.

The eighth transitory article of the LFPPI provides that the protection term of utility models granted before 5 November 2020 may be extended from 10 to 15 years upon a payment corresponding to the annual fees due for their 11th to 15th years within six months of the end of their original expiration date (ie, 10 years after their filing date).

However, the ninth transitory article of the LFPPI states that utility model applications which were in prosecution during its entry into force will continue their prosecution under the old law (ie, the LPP). Whether the extension of term applies to utility models covered by the ninth transitory article is not explicit in the LFPPI. Nevertheless, so far, the IMPI has held that the term of such utility models may also be extended if the requirement outlined above is fulfilled.

Comment

The technological growth and development in recent years, as well as the increase in the number of utility models registered in 2021 and the entry into force of the LFPPI generate good expectations for the years to come.

For further information on this topic please contact Carmen Eloisa Reyes at Becerril, Coca & Becerril SC by telephone (+52 55 5263 8730) or email ([email protected]). The Becerril, Coca & Becerril SC website can be accessed at www.bcb.com.mx.