The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) has exclusive jurisdiction over cases, procurement and advocacy in competition matters relating to the broadcasting and telecoms sectors, while the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) has jurisdiction in competition matters regarding all other sectors. While this allocation of jurisdiction between the IFT and the COFECE may appear straightforward, in reality, there is no clear-cut division of powers with regard to digital markets.
A new state-owned company has been established to provide free internet services to all citizens in Mexico. The company aims to provide telecoms services without charge and guarantee the right of access to information technologies and communication (including internet and broadband), particularly to people without access to such services in Mexico.
The regulation of and risks associated with vaping are among the most debated topics among health authorities and industry players worldwide. Mexico is no exception in this regard, as its developing vaping industry is subject to considerable scrutiny and the health authorities are taking a prohibitionist stance; however, this approach is not new.
In order to recover damages following a violation of their rights, industrial property owners must first file an administrative infringement action before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property in order to obtain a declaration of infringement and then undergo a civil court trial. This process can take up to five years and rights holders often choose not to claim compensation. As such, a recent proposal aims to reform the process for recovering damages caused by a violation of industrial property rights.
Technology is developing rapidly and it generally takes the legislature years to catch up. This is particularly true in the healthcare industry, where regulations are struggling to keep up with the development of health-related technology. This situation has put Mexico in a difficult position. On the one hand, health-related technology is widely available to the general population. However, Mexico also faces numerous challenges, as it cannot quickly and efficiently regulate the use of emerging technologies.
The production of single-use plastics has increased exponentially in recent decades and in Mexico the volume of single-use plastic waste now exceeds the country's recycling capabilities. In response to growing concern over the effects that plastic waste may have on the environment, a series of legislative changes have recently been implemented. Companies should keep track of any waste-related initiatives introduced at the state and federal levels and prepare for upcoming changes to their obligations.
The Mexican courts have issued several precedents to eradicate the existence of usury, allowing judges to discretionally reduce interest rates agreed by the parties. However, some of these precedents contradict each other as to whether the usury prohibition applies to default interest. As such, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court recently issued a decision to clarify these inconsistencies.
The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property's examination criteria was previously consistent enough to provide patent applicants with legal certainty about the eligibility of plant-related inventions. However, recent changes to the criteria for these kinds of invention have resulted in uncertainty which may affect even the validity of already granted patents.
The National Development Plan 2019-2024 (NDP) was recently published, just a few days before the release of the Global Innovation Index. Unlike the previous version, the new NDP does not expressly mention patents or intellectual property. This is not a good sign for a knowledge-based economy ranked first in the world for creative goods exports.
The administration recently issued its National Development Plan 2019-2024, which – despite the previous administration's plans – does not mention cybersecurity. Although there are still hopes that cybersecurity will be addressed in the soon-to-be-released Communications and Transports Sectorial Programme 2019-2024, it appears that the present administration has no intention of implementing a cybersecurity strategy.
In Mexico, some public institutions consolidate the procurement requirements of their entities into one public tender to save costs and increase efficiency. As such, joint propositions among competitors may be the solution for companies that wish to participate in such processes where they involve substantial volumes of goods. However, there are no official guidelines or criteria on how joint propositions between competitors should be negotiated or implemented so that they do not pose a risk to competition.
Digital collection (CoDi) is the latest electronic payment method developed by the Mexican Central Bank, designed to reduce the use of cash and promote competition, while incorporating larger sections of the population into the formal financial sector. It seems that Mexico is moving forward in financial technologies, such as CoDi, and using these developments to promote larger inclusion, competition and transparency for every sector in the country.
The Energy Regulatory Commission has received clearance from the Federal Commission for Regulatory Improvement to publish the general administrative provisions (GAPs) that set out the Guidelines for the Statistic Registry of Commercial Transactions Arising from Regulated Activities Performed with Natural Gas and Oil. The GAPs establish the natural gas and oil registry system and provide new reporting obligations for permit holders.
The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) recently issued a press release announcing that it had rejected Walmart's proposal to acquire Cornershop in light of the potential risks that it posed to competition and free market access. This case is significant as it is the first merger review case in which the COFECE has analysed vertical concentrations involving digital platforms.
It is a basic constitutional principle that no activity or product can be restricted or limited unless a legal provision establishes such restriction or limitation. This principle has resulted in a number of legal gaps regarding products and activities of a technical nature, as Mexican law is rarely as dynamic as technology and innovation. One of the most visible technological advances has been in the software and app arena, particularly with regard to healthcare. This has led to a challenging situation for the health authorities.
Mexico recently became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Chapter 20 of which is one of the most comprehensive IP chapters in any trade agreement. Although the 2018 amendments to Mexico's IP laws provided for most of the specific rights required under the USMCA, the country still has a lot to do to provide for the obligations regarding geographical indications, data exclusivity, trade secrets and enforcement.
The National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector recently published NOM-001-ASEA-2019 (NOM-001) in the Federal Official Gazette. NOM-001's main aims are to establish criteria to classify the special types of waste produced in the hydrocarbons sector and establish which of these must be subject to a management plan, as well as determine the contents of special management and hazardous waste management plans.
The Federal Electricity Commission recently published draft terms of reference for a new tender procedure in which 50,000km of two strands of dark fibre will be allocated for the provision of free internet services to all citizens under the so-called 'Internet for All' project. Specialist opinions on the project's feasibility have been mixed, and the president has stated that if no winner is published in the near future, he will create a government agency to provide internet services throughout the country.
In 2018 the rules for notifying the issuance of a patent, utility model or industrial design application were amended. Thus, all notices issued by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) must be published via the Official Gazette. In a broad interpretation of this reform, the IMPI now provides only digital copies of letters patent and utility model and industrial design registrations. While this interpretation may be inaccurate, it aligns with the global trend of digitalisation among IP offices.
The National Insurance and Bonding Commission recently amended the Sole Insurance and Bonding Rules to include the process for securing a temporary authorisation to operate as a regulated company in the insurance sector using 'technologically novel models' (ie, tools or technological media that do not exist in the market and help in the rendering of financial services). This process aims to allow start-ups to offer and test novel models without having to fully comply with the applicable legal framework.