Monday, 2 February 2009

Mexico considers new patent reform bills

The Mexican Senate is currently considering two bills to amend its Industrial Property Law. One proposes a fundamental review of the law, while the other aims to introduce a procedure for opposing patent grants and penalties for abusive practices in the enforcement of invalid patents.

The first bill, supported by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, was apparently devised with pharmaceutical research and development in mind. Domestic generic manufacturers have objected that patent holders can extend the term of their patents, thus blocking market entry for generic medicaments; the objection has also been raised that third parties use the extension procedure to delay the prosecution of patent applications. Provisions covering abusive enforcement have been strongly opposed, since small entities and individual inventors might be left to bear crippling liabilities if they try to enforce a patent that later becomes invalid.

The second bill, proposed by the Green Ecology Party, would bring Mexico's IP legislation in line with global norms of industrial property. In particular it would establish time limits for filing divisional applications and voluntary amendments to claims, allow for the issue of certified copies in electronic format, let the public submit information about the patentability of a published application and increase the term for replying to Patent Office actions from two to three months. The proposal also suggests making computer-implemented inventions patentable where the invention incorporates a technical contribution.

Source: José Antonio Romero (Becerril, Coca and Becerril SC), writing in International Law Office.

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