IP Notes – International Treaties

By: Antonio Campero Over the passage of time and in accordance with the opening of borders for the development of industry and commerce, one observes among the various countries of the world a growing similarity in their respective legislation regarding intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, etc., which is a specific result of the level of commercial exchange that currently exists in the world economy. As such, over time various international treaties have been developed in order to, among other things, provide guidance as to the meaning of domestic intellectual property laws. Countries that adhere to such treaties or conventions have agreed to observe and recognize in their domestic laws the minimum benefits recognized in favor of holders of such rights, which consequently means that minimum levels of protection are similar in several different countries. Mexico forms part of the well-known "Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property," which, among other aspects, recognizes so-called "priority rights," which means that the date upon which the filing of an application claiming rights was made in one country, is recognized as the date of filing in other countries that adhere to such convention. In regard to trademarks, the term for claiming priority rights is six months after filing in the country of origin, while for patents said term is twelve months. Later, Mexico became a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (known by its initials PCT), which considerably extended the period for claiming priority. In addition, Mexico is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Artistic and Literary Works, which has achieved, through various national laws, recognition of worldwide validity of copyrights, and as a result it suffices to have a copyright recognized in only one country. Finally, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mexico is also a party to the Agreement Concerning Intellectual Property Rights for Associated Commerce, which contains rules for protecting various intellectual property rights, emphasizing the obligation to allow for patents for all types of industrial activity. The above referenced laws are not isolated, but instead are the consequence of international business and the clearly growing need for owners of intellectual property rights to protect their rights in various territories, whether they are actually operating in such countries, or intend to enter new markets soon.

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