Mexico: Yet another Latin American country to approve the Madrid Protocol.
May 3rd, 2012 by Danny G. Pérez y Soto - B&R Research
Just days after Colombia’s approval to the Madrid Protocol, on April 25, 2012, the Mexican Senate has also approved the treaty.
The approval, good as it is for the mexican intellectual property market, is hardly surprising, since there is a clear trend in the region in giving increasing importance to intellectual property. According to José Graca Aranha, from the WIPO, latinamerican governments have previously neglected the issue due to a lack of awareness of the Madrid system and are becoming increasingly conscious about it’s importance for their international competitiveness. Besides, the primary trading partner for most latinamerican countries, the US, has started demanding their accession to the system -such was the case for Colombia- and is surely advocating for it’s long-time partners, such as Mexico, to update their legislation on the issue.
Mexico’s PTO (IMPI) has celebrated the approval, highlighting the advantages in time and fees for mexican trademark owners, and reminding other benefits of the Madrid system, such as the quick and centralized procedure for trademark registration in over 84 countries and the flexible nature of the treaty.
Even so, the Madrid Protocol’s procedures will not be available for a while, since for the treaty to be in force, the ratified text has to be submitted to the WIPO’s registry of contracting parties in Geneva, and the accesion will be effective three months later. It is said that the Mexican PTO expects to take approximately two years more to enforce the Protocol.
Some worries concerning the Protocol include the incentive for foreign companies to increase their IP applications in Mexico, overwhelming the Mexican PTO and increasing the times for all procedures, and the increase of litigiation on IP grounds against Mexican companies.
However, there are clear benefits, such as the possibility for big companies to protect their IP in record time and with lower costs, and for small companies it’s easier to compete in international markets due to the reduction of costs and the decrease of labor burden to get IP protection.
As explained by David Rangel Medina, Mexico was a party to the Madrid Agreement, the parallel system to the Madrid Protocol, but withdrew its ratification in 1943 due to the alleged unbalance between the benefits for mexican and foreign companies, since very few mexican companies registered their IP back then. This unbalance may be repeated, due to the high concentration of mexican exports on the US market, and the neglect of the broader international market, to which the Madrid Protocol aims.
For a lengthier explanation on how the Madrid protocol works and it’s approval process in Colombia, click here.