A new era dawned in Mexico on 1 December 2018 when Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as president. Obrador's leftist party had campaigned for the presidency for almost 20 years before achieving a surprising win in the national election in July 2018.
This political shift, combined with a change in leadership at the Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), will have a significant impact on the Mexican IP framework. In particular, the new government has introduced numerous policy changes for multiple sectors, many of which aim to fulfil its objectives of:
- providing greater social benefits to marginalised citizens; and
- promoting the economic development of indigenous communities.
Similarly, the responsibility for implementing the government's strategies has been bestowed on people who, in addition to their technical capacities in their field, are familiar with the president's social project and experienced in community-based initiatives.
The IMPI is undergoing similar changes. The new director has spoken to the media about the various projects that he must implement during the new administration.
One such project is the promotion of the benefits of patenting to all citizens involved in innovation projects – both in the industrial transformation and the scientific sectors. This initiative – which hopes to encourage all Mexican inventors (ie, industry professionals and academics) to file patent, industrial design or utility model applications to protect their innovations – is clearly aimed at:
- increasing the number of national applications filed in Mexico; and
- balancing the number of national and foreign filings.
This will enable Mexico to generate adequate intellectual capital, which can be commercialised for the benefit of citizens, national companies and the country in general.
To meet this goal, the IMPI must maintain and improve its current procedures so that they can be carried out in a timely manner. It is also vital that IMPI's substantive examination procedures comply with international requisites so that new technologies can also be protected in other countries. In addition to promoting Mexico's innovation network, the IMPI must ensure that its procedures yield effective, safe and viable results.
The new IMPI director also appears to have a keen interest in protecting:
- a larger number of denominations of origin; and
- the numerous geographical indications (GIs) that correspond to communities of producers throughout Mexico.
The identification of such denominations and GIs has fuelled the government's interest in generating economic benefits for Mexico's indigenous communities, and their recognition represents a clear effort to promote the economic development of indigenous communities at the regional level.
In addition to promoting the economic development of indigenous communities, the IMPI must continue to perform its daily functions so as not to impede its operation. Thus, in order to cope with this new scheme, the IMPI will likely look to increase its staff and improve its infrastructure.
Any attempt to develop neglected economic sectors is admirable. In order to achieve this objective, Mexico must continue to develop its IP system so that it is effective at not only protecting, but also defending peoples' rights.
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