The Mexican Federal Government recently announced the introduction of a new regime to help trademark owners combat counterfeiting. The regime will be operated by Mexican customs authorities and will enable them to recognise and intercept counterfeit goods entering the country.
The basis of the regime is a new trademarks database to be held by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (MIIP). Trademark owners can register details of their trademarks and products with MIIP. When goods bearing those marks arrive at the border, the Mexican customs authorities will consult the database and use the details there to establish whether the goods are authentic or counterfeit.
Amongst other things, trademark owners will need to register details of:
- their trademark registrations in Mexico
- their licensees and authorised importers
- their products and packaging, including a description and photograph
- any distinguishing features used on their products, such as holograms.
Customs authorities can then cross-check these details against the imported goods. If there are any discrepancies (for example, if the goods have originated from a party other than the trademark owner, licensee, or authorised importer, the packaging has been altered or the goods do not bear a hologram), the authorities will be put on alert that the goods may be counterfeit. They will then contact the trademark owner to verify the position.
There is no cost for inclusion in the database and once details are registered protection begins immediately.
This new regime is undoubtedly beneficial for businesses with trademark registrations in Mexico, and they should take advantage of it. It will not only help them to stop counterfeit products entering the market in Mexico but will also speed up the clearance and sale of their genuine products.