Trademarks Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with References to the Current Mexican Law

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Title

Trademarks Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with References to the Current Mexican Law

Description

Begins with a brief explanation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) leading to the study of trademarks under chapter XVII of the Agreement. Part of the study of definitions and norms that this part contains is based on the trademark doctrine of Spain. Attempting to explain trademarks under NAFTA, excellent Spanish commentators are cited through their works. Part four explains how NAFTA’s trademark regulations were applied to the Mexican legal system, which allows us to observe the practical implementation of this important Agreement within the legal system of one of the participating member states. Through international agreements like NAFTA, one can witness the convergence of countries with distinct legal traditions, such as Mexico and the United States, and in large part Canada, and the unification of the asymmetry that exists between these countries. The Agreement’s effect on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) within the Mexican trademark legislation before NAFTA was signed is explained, as is the worldwide impact of the Agreement. Finally, part five discusses the introduction of Mexico into the international trademark arena, sets forth the international treaties that involve trademark matters that Mexico has entered into, as well as those that are still pending, and explains the impact those treaties might have on the future of NAFTA.

Creator

Roberto Rosas

Publisher

Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

Date

2014

Relation

Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

Format

RFC3778

Language

English, en-US

Type

Text

Identifier

18MarqIntellPropLRev167

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INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
SCHOLARS SERIES

TRADEMARKS UNDER THE NORTH
AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
(NAFTA), WITH REFERENCES TO THE
CURRENT MEXICAN LAW
ROBERTO ROSAS*
I. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................. 171
II. WHAT IS NAFTA? ........................................................................... 172
III. NAFTA, CHAPTER XVII, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY .................... 177
A. General Aspects ................................................................... 177
1. Nature and Scope of Obligations ................................... 177
2. More Extensive Protection ............................................ 178
3. National Treatment ........................................................ 178
4. Control of Abusive or Anticompetitive Practices or
Conditions .................................................................... 178

* Instructor of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Prof. Rosas
is the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award 2013 from the St. Mary’s University Alumni
Association. He received his J.D. from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico where he also
previously obtained the degree of Electrical Mechanic Engineer. Postgraduate studies: Harvard
Graduate School of Business, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Oxford Center for
Management Studies. Prof. Rosas also studied graduate courses on comparative law of Mexico and
the United States as well as canon law. He is a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.)
at
the
Universidad Europea de Madrid. He has also been a professor of law at the Universidad de Guadalajara
from which he graduated at the top of his class. Prof. Rosas is the author of numerous law review
articles published in countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He was elected
president of the Commission on Legal Affairs for the Advisory Council of the Institute of Mexicans
Abroad (2003-2008 and 2009-2011).
The author wishes to give thanks to Andrea Díaz for her assistance and also to Juan J. Vásquez
for his valuable contribution to this article.
The author would also like to thank Alejandro Malacara Ortiz de Montellano, J.D., LL.M.,
Managing Partner and founder of Corporate Attorneys Malacara, leading firm in Intellectual Property
nationally and internationally, based in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, for the wise review of Mexican
law-related content in this Article.

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B. Trademarks ........................................................................... 178
1. The Concept of Trademarks .......................................... 178
2. Rights of the Owner of Registered Trademarks ............ 180
3. Use of Trademarks......................................................... 181
4. Procedure for Trademark Registration .......................... 182
5. Objects that are Distinguished by the Trademark .......... 183
6. Rules Pertaining to the Notoriety of the Trademark ...... 184
7. Duration of the Certificate ............................................. 186
8. Obligations and Formalities of Using the Trademark ... 187
9. License and Transfer of the Trademark ......................... 188
10. Exceptions ................................................................... 190
11. Causes for Rejection of Registration ........................... 190
C. Restraining Application of Intellectual Property Rights ...... 191
1. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: General
Provisions ..................................................................... 192
2. Specific Procedural and Remedial Aspects of Civil and
Administrative Procedure............................................. 193
3. Precautionary Measures ................................................. 193
4. Criminal Procedures and Penalties ................................ 193
5. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the
Border........................................................................... 193
IV. APPLICATION OF NAFTA TRADEMARK REGULATION TO THE
MEXICAN LEGAL SYSTEM ......................................................... 194
A. Trademarks on the Internet .................................................. 201
V. MEXICO IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA OF TRADEMARK LAW .... 207
A. Mexico’s Treaties Involving Trademarks ............................ 207
B. Future of NAFTA ................................................................. 209
1. Trade Balance ................................................................ 209
2. FTAA ............................................................................. 211
3. TPP ................................................................................ 213
VI. CONCLUSION .................................................................................. 214

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ROBERTO ROSAS

Roberto Rosas is an instructor of Law, St. Mary’s University School of
Law, San Antonio, Texas. Prof. Rosas is the recipient of the Distinguished
Faculty Award 2013 from the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association. He
received his J.D. from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico where he also
previously obtained the degree of Electrical Mechanic Engineer. Postgraduate
studies: Harvard Graduate School of Business, University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, and Oxford Center for Management Studies. Prof. Rosas also studied
graduate courses on comparative law of Mexico and the United States as well
as canon law. He is a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) at the Universidad
Europea de Madrid. He has also been a professor of law at the Universidad de
Guadalajara from which he graduated at the top of his class. Prof. Rosas is the
author of numerous law review articles published in countries of the Americas,
Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He was elected president of the Commission
on Legal Affairs for the Advisory Council of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad
(2003-2008 and 2009-2011).
The author wishes to give thanks to Andrea Díaz for her assistance and also
to Juan J. Vásquez for his valuable contribution to this article.
The author would also like to thank Alejandro Malacara Ortiz de
Montellano, J.D., LL.M., Managing Partner and founder of Corporate
Attorneys Malacara, leading firm in Intellectual Property nationally and
internationally, based in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, for the wise review of
Mexican law-related content in this Article.

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I. INTRODUCTION
A trademark is any distinctive sign indicating that certain products or
services have been manufactured or rendered by a specific person or company.1
This concept is currently recognized worldwide; however, the origin of
trademarks dates back to antiquity when artisans placed their signatures or
“marks” on their products containing an artistic or utilitarian element.2
Through time, these marks have evolved to such an extent that today a reliable
and efficient system for their registration and protection has been established.
Besides protecting owners of trademarks, this system also helps consumers
identify and purchase goods or services, which because of the essence and
quality of their “unique” trademarks meet their needs.
These observations serve as an introduction to this article consisting of five
parts. Part two begins with a brief explanation of the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) leading to part three, the study of trademarks under
chapter XVII of the Agreement. It is important to mention that part of the study
of definitions and norms that this part contains is based on the trademark
doctrine of Spain.3 Attempting to explain trademarks under NAFTA, excellent
Spanish commentators are cited through their works.
Part four explains how NAFTA’s trademark regulations were applied to the
Mexican legal system, which allows us to observe the practical implementation
of this important Agreement within the legal system of one of the participating
member states. It is noteworthy to mention that through international
agreements like NAFTA, one can witness the convergence of countries with
distinct legal traditions, such as Mexico and the United States, and in large part
Canada, and the unification of the asymmetry that exists between these

1. See BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 1630 (9th ed. 2009) (defining trademark as “a word, phrase,
logo, or other graphic symbol used by a manufacturer or seller to distinguish its product or products
from those of others”).
2. See Mohammad Amin Naser, Re-Examining the Functions of Trademark Law, 8 J. INTELL.
PROP. 99, 100 (2008-2009) (noting that the earliest uses of trademarks were intended to denote
ownership); Sidney A. Diamond, The Historical Development of Trademarks, 65 TRADEMARK REP.
265, 265 (1975) (positing the original use of trademarks was to denote ownership of personal property);
Benjamin G. Paster, Trademarks-Their Early History, 59 TRADEMARK REP. 551, 551 (1969)
(discussing the first use of trademarks as a method of identifying the work of artisans); see also Gerald
Ruston, On the Origin of Trademarks, 45 TRADEMARK REP. 127, 127 (1955) (stating that early marks
on earthenware were prototypical trademarks identifying the maker of the object).
3. See Paul Maier, OHIM’s Role in European Trademark Harmonization: Past, Present and
Future, 23 FORDHAM INTELL. PROP. MEDIA & ENT. L.J. 687, 692 (2013) (discussing the role Spain
plays in international trademark law, in that the European Trademark Office is located in Alicante,
Spain); Erica Pruetz, Protecting Car Design Internationally: A Comparison of British and American
Design Laws, 24 LOY. L.A. INT’L & COMP. L. REV. 475, 494 (2002) (emphasizing the importance of
Spain in international trademark law in the location of the Community Trademark Office in Spain,
with the purpose of creating a single market for intellectual property).

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countries. The Agreement’s effect on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS) within the Mexican trademark legislation before
NAFTA was signed is explained, as is the worldwide impact of the Agreement.
Finally, part five discusses the introduction of Mexico into the international
trademark arena, sets forth the international treaties that involve trademark
matters that Mexico has entered into, as well as those that are still pending, and
explains the impact those treaties might have on the future of NAFTA.
II. WHAT IS NAFTA?
During the first months of 1990, representatives from the Mexican
government initiated talks with representatives of the United States to analyze
the possibility of negotiating a free trade agreement between the two nations,
which would also include Canada.4 Signing such an agreement signified one
of the boldest and most important steps in Mexico’s economic future because
it represented a major integration with the strongest and most developed
economy in the world, despite distant relations between the two countries.5 The
North American Free Trade Agreement became effective on January 1, 1994,
when it was signed by the heads of state of Mexico, Canada and the United
States and subsequently ratified by the legislative bodies of each of the three
countries.6 Starting with the establishment of a free trade area agreed to by the
three parties, the Agreement is a collection of rules that serve to regulate the
4. See M. Angeles Villarreal & Ian F. Fergusson, CONG. RESEARCH SERV., R42965, NAFTA AT
20: OVERVIEW AND TRADE EFFECTS 4 (2013) (discussing the negotiations between the U.S. and
Mexico that would lead to NAFTA); Kenneth W. Abbott & Gregory W. Bowman, Economic
Integration in the Americas: “A Work in Progress”, 14 NW. J. INT’L. L. & BUS.493, 494 (1994)
(discussing the 1990 initiation of NAFTA negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico); see also
LEONEL PEREZNIETO CASTRO, DERECHO INTERNACIONAL PRIVADO. PARTE GENERAL 257 (7th ed.
2001) (indicating that a free trade agreement signifies that the participant countries assume the
responsibility of reducing tariffs on their products and establishing favorable conditions for increasing
trade in services and investments, which should be completed by the deadlines established under the
Agreement).
5. See Villarreal, supra note 4, at 9 (stating that NAFTA represents a trade agreement between
two economically developed and one less economically developed country); Jack I. Garvey, Regional
Free Trade Dispute Resolution as Means for Securing the Middle East Peace Process, 47 AM. J. COMP.
L. 147, 163 (1999) (stating that NAFTA brought together developed and developing countries); see
also SIDNEY WEINTRAUB, MATRIMONIO POR CONVENIENCIA, TLC: ¿ INTERGRACIÓN O DIVORCIO DE
ECONOMIAS? 299 (1st ed. 1994) (describing that the México-United States relationship is characterized
by great tensions, in that differences separate the two countries, while their mutual dependency brings
them together, and both forces are always present).
6. See Villarreal, supra note 4, at 1 (stating that NAFTA has been in effect since 1994); David
M. Gould, Has NAFTA Changed North American Trade?, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 12, 12
(2009), available at http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/er/1998/er9801b.pdf (noting
that NAFTA took effect in 1994); Lucien J. Dhooge, The Revenge of the Trail Smelter: Environmental
Regulation as Expropriation Pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement, 38 AM. BUS. L.
J. 475, 480 (2001) (listing the effective date of NAFTA as January 1, 1994).

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exchange of capital, services, and goods, which has occurred among the three
countries for some time.7
Previously, these exchanges were regulated by a collection of narrow
agreements and provisions, the limited scope of which discouraged long-term
investment by introducing uncertainty over the future of mutually agreed upon
advantages.8 Currently, the Agreement provides security and confidence to
investors and exporters contemplating exchanges because it sets forth deadlines
for reductions in tariffs.9 Furthermore, rules are established to determine the
origin of products and in this manner preference is given to exchanges between
the three signatories to the Agreement.10 Finally, rules and procedures to
resolve disputes arising over the interpretation and application of the
Agreement were also created.11 This collection of rules permits the countries
involved, particularly Mexico, to increase exports, to attract investments, and
to create higher-paying jobs.
7. See LESLIE ALAN GLICK, UNDERSTANDING THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE
AGREEMENT: LEGAL AND BUSINESS CONSEQUENCES OF NAFTA 3 (Kluwer Law Int’l ed., 3rd ed.
2010) (identifying NAFTA as an agreement to remove barriers to trade and investments in both goods
and services between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada); see also Johanna Rinceanu, Enforcement
Mechanisms in International Environmental Law: Quo Vadunt?, 15 J. ENVTL. L. & LITIG. 147, 163
(2000) (stating that NAFTA establishes a free trade zone between its three member nations).
8. See M. Angeles Villarreal, CONG. RESEARCH SERV., R40784, MEXICO’S FREE TRADE
AGREEMENTS 1, 5 (2012) (noting the disparity between the countries in NAFTA negotiations); Barry
A. Feinstein & Mohammed S. Dajani-Daoudi, Permeable Fences Make Good Neighbors: Improving
a Seemingly Intractable Border Conflict Between Israelis and Palestinians,16 AM. U. INT’L L. REV 1,
110–122 (2000) (describing the history of animosity between the U.S. and Mexico); see also David M.
McPherson, Is the North American Free Trade Agreement Entitled to an Economically Rational
Countervailing Duty Scheme?, 73 B.U. L. REV. 47, 47 (1993) (stating that Mexico has a history of
mistrust of the United States).
9. See James E. Bailey, Free Trade and the Environment- Can NAFTA Reconcile the
Irreconcilable?, 8 AM. U. J. INT’L L. & POL’Y 839, 844 (1993) (stating that NAFTA aims to, among
other things, reduce tariffs); David A. Gantz, A Post-Uruguay Round Introduction to International
Trade Law in the United States, 12 ARIZ. J. INT’L & COMP. L. 7, 15 (1995) (listing the deadline for
eliminating tariffs as 15 years); see also McPherson, supra note 8, at 48 (describing NAFTA’s aim to
facilitate trade by eliminating tariffs).
10. See Gantz, supra note 9, at 15 (describing the preferential treatment between member
nations); see also Philip L. Martin, Economic Integration and Migration: The Case of NAFTA, 3
UCLA J. INT’L L. & FOREIGN AFF. 419, 425 (1998) (listing as a principle of NAFTA the commitment
to extend to NAFTA countries the trade preferences extended to non-NAFTA countries).
11. The four main subjects for dispute resolution are as follows: investment under chapter XI,
section B; financial services under article 1415; review and resolution of controversies for antidumping
matters and countervailing quotas under chapter XIX; and institutional and procedural provisions for
resolution of disputes under chapter XX. See CASTRO, supra note 4, at 259 (emphasizing that the
mechanism of dispute resolution is the most complete method of those established in NAFTA, to
resolve conflicts between the parties); Jack I. Garvey, Current Developments, Trade Law and Quality
of Life-Dispute Resolution Under the NAFTA Side Accords on Labor and the Environment, 89 AM. J.
INT’L L. 439, 441 (1995) (discussing the dispute resolution mechanisms of NAFTA); see also Garvey,
supra note 5, at 164 (describing the means for dispute resolution within the framework of NAFTA).

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NAFTA acknowledges, through its differential implementation of tariff
reduction, the differences in the level of economic development among the
three countries. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, all tariffs and most nontariff barriers on goods produced and traded within North America were
eliminated.12 Thanks to these actions Mexico immediately exported, free of
quotas or taxes, textiles, automobiles, gas heaters, livestock, strawberries and
other products. Mexico was able to immediately export beer, computer
equipment, and television parts to Canada.13 In turn, Mexico opened its borders
to approximately 65 percent of industrial and agricultural exports from the
U.S.14
The difference in the timing of tariff reduction acknowledges the
asymmetry between the economies of the three countries, and also provides
Mexican entrepreneurs additional time to adapt to the new circumstances of the
Agreement. It is important to remember that the opening of the Mexican
economy to international competition occurred with the admission of Mexico
into GATT.15 Therefore, Mexican companies have known for some time how
12. See Villarreal, supra note 4, at 5 (noting that NAFTA eliminated some tariffs immediately
and others over a period of fifteen years after it entered into force); Glick, supra note 7, at 11
(explaining that all tariffs between the three NAFTA countries were eventually eliminated); see also
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), EXPORT.GOV, http://export.gov/fta/nafta (last
visited Apr. 20, 2013) (stating that “the dismantling of trade barriers and the opening of markets has
led to economic growth and rising prosperity in all three [NAFTA] countries”).
13. See Glick, supra note 7, at 12 (noting that some products, such as electronic equipment and
computers were able to enter duty free into Mexico immediately); Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez, The
Mexican View on the Operation of NAFTA for the Resolution of Canada-U.S.-Mexico Disputes, 26
CAN.-U.S. L. J. 219, 222 (2000) (describing the increase of Mexico’s exports to Canada after the
inception of NAFTA); see also Villarreal, supra note 4, at 5 (discussing the increase in imports between
Canada and Mexico).
14. See Glick, supra note 7, at 11–13 (detailing the U.S. products that enjoyed duty free status
upon NAFTA taking effect); see also Villarreal, supra note 4, at 5 (noting that “[a]t the time that
NAFTA went into effect, about 40% of U.S. imports from Mexico entered duty-free and the remainder
faced duties of up to 35%” ). See generally Jeffrey Lax, Note, A Chile Forecast for Accession to
NAFTA: A Process of Economic, Legal and Environmental Harmonization, 7 CARDOZO J. INT’L &
COMP. L. 97, 121 (1999) (positing that although NAFTA is often assumed to be the cause of the
Mexican Peso Crisis, the “improvement of the Mexican trade deficit demonstrates that NAFTA was
not a principle cause of the crisis.”)
15. See The multilateral trading system—past, present and future, WTO.ORG,
http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/inbrief_e/inbr01_e.htm (last visited Oct. 16, 2013).
GATT was substituted by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was created by negotiations
of Ronda Uruguay (1986–1994). On April 15, 1994, the Agreement creating the WTO was signed in
Marrakech, Morocco, and was established on January 1, 1995. The seat of government is located in
Geneva, Switzerland and consists of 144 member States as of January 1, 2002. The purpose of the
WTO is to insure that commerce flows with the utmost facility, freedom, fairness and forethought. It
is important to remember that from its creation in 1947–1948 and throughout the eight rounds of final
commercial negotiations, GATT always functioned ad hoc, without a proper legal foundation. In fact,
GATT was not even recognized under international law as an organization. See Eric L. Garner &
Michelle Ouellette, Future Shock? The Law of the Colorado River in the Twenty-First Century, 27

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to face this challenge.16 For NAFTA, business sectors were consulted before
and during the negotiations over the timing and formalities of the reduction of
tariffs between Canada and the United States.17 The Agreement is one of many
that Mexico has executed with different countries and regions.18 Collectively,
ARIZ. ST. L.J. 469, 505 (1995) (stating that Mexico is a member of GATT); see also Villarreal, supra
note 4, at 4 (stating that Mexico joined GATT in 1986).
16. After examining the trade policies of Mexico in April 19, 2013, the World Trade
Organization recognized that Mexico successfully overcame “the global financial crisis of 2008-2009
through the implementation of countercyclical fiscal and monetary policies, and supported both by a
recovery in domestic demand and exports.” WTO, Trade Policy Review: Mexico: April 2013,
available at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp379_e.htm. The WTO also explained that
between 2009 and 2013, Mexico has lowered tariffs on a wide range of manufactured goods, making
it one of the few countries to “carry out substantial tariff reductions in the aftermath of the global
financial crisis, which hit the Mexican economy relatively hard.” Id. Furthermore, although the WTO
did not see a substantial change to Mexico’s trade policy or its underlying legal framework, it did
recognize that the objective of Mexico’s trade policy remains to strengthen and increase Mexico’s
participation in world trade through the multilateral trade system and preferential trade agreements,
which has resulted in Mexico being one of the countries in Latin America with the largest number of
trade agreements. See id. at 9; see also Luis Malpicca de la Madrid, Proceedings of the Seventh Annual
Conference on Legal Aspects of Doing Business in Latin America: Adapting to a Changing Legal
Environment, 9 FLA. J. INT’L L. 35, 36 (1994) (stating that Mexico became a member of GATT in 1986,
thereby evincing its lengthy experience with opening its economy).
17. See North America Free Trade Agreement, Official Text, Mexico, 1994, p. vii; Frédéric P.
Cantin & Andreas F. Lowenfeld, Rules of Origin, the Canada-U.S. FTA, and the Honda Case, 87 AM.
J. INT’L L. 375, 385 (1993) (discussing the effect of the business sector on NAFTA negotiations); see
also Robert F. Housman & Paul M. Orbuch, Integrating Labor and Environmental Concerns into the
NAFTA: A Look Back and a Look Ahead, 8 AM. U. J. INT’L L. & POL’Y 719, 724–25 (1993) (describing
the input of various lobbyists representing the business sector on NAFTA negotiations).
18. See Mexico Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 (EC) No. E/2007/1063 as of 22 May 2007,
sec 2.4, 6, available at http://eeas.europa.eu/mexico/csp/07_13_en.pdf (describing that Mexico has
pursued an aggressive strategy of trade liberalization, which has resulted in a large number of trade
agreements).
The general panorama of Free Trade Agreements that Mexico has entered into is as follows:
Mexico-United States and Canada; Mexico-Costa Rica; Mexico-Colombia and Venezuela; MexicoNicaragua; Mexico-Chile; Mexico-European Union (27 countries); Mexico-Israel; Mexico-El
Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; Mexico-European Free Trade Union (Ireland, Liechtenstein,
Norway, and Switzerland); Mexico- Japan; Mexico-Uruguay; and Mexico-Peru. See Villarreal, supra
note 4, at 4 (discussing the increasing number of FTA’s to which Mexico is a party). Furthermore, the
negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore, and Panama is being considered, as well as a
study of the viability for entering into an agreement with Jamaica, Belize, and Mercosur (Brazil,
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay).
Mexico and Bolivia had a FTA, loosely based on the NAFTA model, which was effectively
terminated when the two governments entered into an agreement called an Economic
Complementation Agreement (ECA) in 2010, following a determination by the Bolivian government
that the now former FTA’s intellectual property rights provisions (among others), was not compatible
with the 2009 Bolivian constitution. See Mexico y Bolivia Mantienen Libre Comercio de Mercancías
Gracias a Nuevo Acuerdo De Complementación [Mexico and Bolivia Maintain Free Trade Thanks to
New Economic Complementation Agreement], SICE, (Apr. 6, 2010), available at
http://www.sice.oas.org/tpd/BOL_MEX/Termination/Termination_s.pdf.
For the present study it is important to note the Free Trade Agreement of Mexico-European

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these arrangements represent the Mexican strategy of extending and
diversifying its commercial and economic relationships.19
NAFTA is broken into eight parts and subdivided into twenty-two chapters.
The contents20 of NAFTA are as follows:
Preamble
First Part. General Aspects
Chapter I. Objectives
Chapter II. General Definitions
Second Part. Trade in Goods
Chapter III. National Treatment and Market Access for Goods
Chapter IV. Rules of Origin
Chapter V. Customs Procedures
Union, particularly the presence of Spain in this Agreement and its connection with NAFTA. Through
NAFTA, Mexico has become an attractive “springboard for exports” to the vast markets of the United
States and Canada, and in addition to its own population, an integrated market consisting of 100 million
consumers. Mexico is the bridge between two great powers: the Unites States and the European Union.
Furthermore, for the communitarian countries, Mexico can make the dreams of all entrepreneurs in the
world a reality: to sell their products or services to the Unites States, the most powerful country on the
planet. Spain has a unique opportunity to take advantage of the Hispano-Mexican relationship of the
recent years, which can be characterized by a closeness and warmth of official relationships, as well
as the relationships between the two societies. A brief summary of how the doors were opened to the
reencounter would be helpful. See LORENZO MEYER, EL CACTUS Y EL OLIVO, LAS RELACIONES DE
MÉXICO Y ESPAÑA EN EL SIGLO XX, UNA APUESTA EQUIVOCADA (2001) (indicating that after the
conflictive relationship that followed Mexican Independence, Spain took much pain in realizing that it
had no other alternative than to treat its former colony on an equal plane); Villarreal, supra note 8, at
4 (listing the different countries entering into trade agreements with Mexico); see also Claudio
Grossman, The Evolution of Free Trade in the Americas: NAFTA Case Studies, 11 AM. U. J. INT’L L.
& POL’Y 687, 703 (1996) (using Chile as an example of how Mexico’s bilateral trade has grown).
19. The inclusion of Mexico into GATT signified the beginning of its commercial opening and
economic integration with the world, which allowed it to become a commercial world power, estimated
to be the world’s thirteenth largest economy, and eighth largest exporter of goods. See Mexico Country
Strategy Paper 2007-2013, supra note 18, at 64; see also Villarreal, supra note 4, at 2 (noting Mexico’s
strategy for increasing the number of its trade agreements); Grossman, supra note 18, at 702
(discussing Mexico’s economic strategy of increased participation in international trade); Enlace
Mexicano, Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (Mexico, 2000).
20. See ADAME GODDARD JORGE, CONTRATOS INTERNACIONALES EN AMÉRICA DEL NORTE,
RÉGIMEN JURÍDICO 1 (1st ed. 1999). The author states that the total contents of NAFTA, from a
judicial point of view, can be synthesized by saying that it procures uniformity or harmonization of the
foreign trade policy of the three countries. The underlying idea is that free trade is an adequate means
for the development of the nations. But neither the foreign trade policies nor the agreement itself are
in reality free trade. Free trade is made up of international contracts that the parties (persons or
enterprises) enter into with the purpose of exchanging goods or services. The foreign trade policies
and the free trade agreements, are to say, only the adequate scenographic for the true agents of free
trade to act, these agents are the importers, exporters, manufacturers, the enterprises and entrepreneurs.
NAFTA establishes conditions that supposedly should facilitate the entering into international
commercial contracts, such as exportations, importations, technology transfer contracts, licenses for
use of trademarks and patents, goods transport contracts, and lending of services contracts.

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Chapter VI. Energy and Basic Petrochemicals
Chapter VII. Agriculture, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
Chapter VIII. Emergency Measures
Third Part. Technical Barriers to Trade
Chapter IX. Standards Related to Measures
Fourth Part. Government Procurement
Chapter X. Government Procurement
Fifth Part. Investments, Services and Related Matters
Chapter XI. Investments
Chapter XII. Cross-Border Trade in Services
Chapter XIII. Telecommunications
Chapter XIV. Financial Services
Chapter XV. Competition Policy, Monopolies and State Enterprises
Chapter XVI. Temporary Entry for Businesspersons
Sixth Part. Intellectual Property:
Chapter XVII Intellectual Property
Seventh Part. Administrative and Institutional Provisions
Chapter XVIII. Publication, Notification and Administration of Laws
Chapter XIX. Review and Dispute Settlement in Antidumping and
Countervailing Duty Matter
Chapter XX. Institutional Arrangements and Dispute Settlement
Procedures
Eighth Part. Other Provisions
Chapter XXI. Exceptions
Chapter XXII. Final Provisions
Annexes
Agreement of Environmental Cooperation
Agreement of Labor Cooperation
III. NAFTA, CHAPTER XVII, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The provisions of chapter XVII regarding legal institutions of intellectual
property will be examined first, followed by the specific provisions regarding
trademarks and ending with the application of intellectual property rights, with
emphasis on trademarks.
A. General Aspects
1. Nature and Scope of Obligations
“Each Party shall provide in its territory to the nationals of another Party
adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property
rights, while ensuring that measures to enforce intellectual property rights do

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not themselves become barriers to legitimate trade.”21 Similarly, in order to
implement the aforementioned protection and enforcement, “each Party shall,
at a minimum give effect to this Chapter and the substantive provisions of” the
different international conventions on intellectual property matters that are
mentioned in the corresponding text, and the three countries shall comply with
said conventions if a Party has not acceded to them on or before the date
NAFTA goes into effect.22
2. More Extensive Protection
Each signatory country will be able to establish in its own domestic
legislation protection for intellectual property rights greater than that required
by this Agreement.23
3. National Treatment
The articles that deal with this provision can be summarized in the
following manner: “treatment no less favorable than that which is accorded to
its own nationals;”24 elimination of requirements to receive national
treatment;25 exceptions regarding administrative and legal procedures;26
acquisition and maintenance of intellectual property rights with respect to other
multilateral treaties “concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual
Property Organization [WIPO].”27
4. Control of Abusive or Anticompetitive Practices or Conditions
This section refers to the adoption of measures to impede the granting of
licenses which “constitute an abuse of intellectual property rights having an
adverse effect on the competition in the relevant market.”28
B. Trademarks
1. The Concept of Trademarks
The Agreement defines trademarks and then lists ad exemplum signs that

21. See North American Free Trade Agreement, 32 I. L. M. 605, 671, at art. 1701(1), available
at http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/nafta/chap-171.asp#A1701 (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) [hereinafter
NAFTA].
22. Id. at art. 1701(2).
23. Id. at art. 1702.
24. See id. at art. 1703(1).
25. See id. at art. 1703(2).
26. See id. at art. 1703(3).
27. See id. at art. 1703(4).
28. See id. at art. 1704.

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can constitute a trademark. It then illustrates some types of trademarks and
ends by allowing the participating parties to establish a registration requirement
that signs be visible.29 The corresponding text follows:
Article 1708.1. For purposes of this Agreement, a trademark consists
of any sign, or any combination of signs, capable of distinguishing the
goods or services of one person from those of another, including
personal names, designs, letters, numerals, colors, figurative elements,
or the shape of goods or of their packaging. Trademarks shall include
service marks and collective marks, and may include certification
marks. A Party may require, as a condition for registration, that a sign
be visually perceptible.30
From the preceding concept and in accordance with legal doctrine, the
characteristics of a trademark are as follows: a) an immaterial character; b) with
differentiating aptitude; c) that identifies a product or services; d) which is
linked to the rule of specialty; and e) a region where the trademark will
operate.31 As far as what the rule of specialty entails, it is important to mention
that this characteristic is related to the classification in the trademark registry.
Concerning the region where the trademark is to operate, the same document
provides that it is referring to the market formed by the parties to the
Agreement. Due to the registration requirement that the sign be visible, current
debate has focused on whether such condition excludes the possibility of
registering new types of trademarks, commonly called non-traditional marks,
such as distinct sounds, names, tastes or feel, which are protected in some
jurisdictions.32 Furthermore, the difficulty lies in being able to show that the
29. See id. at art. 1708(1).
30. See id.
31. See USA- 3 WORLD TRADEMARK LAW AND PRACTICE § 3.10 DEFINITION OF A MARK AND
GENERAL OBJECTIONS (2009) (discussing the general characteristics of trademarks). See generally
ELENA DE LA FUENTE GARCÍA, PROPIEDAD INDUSTRIAL, TEORÍA Y PRÁCTICA 122 (2001) (discussing
various aspects of trademarks including the characteristics and rights of owners of trademarks); Muria
Kruger, Note, Harmonizing TRIPs and the CBD: A Proposal from India, 10 MINN. J. GLOBAL TRADE
169, 183–85 (2001) (discussing the characteristics of trademarks under The Trade-Related Intellectual
Property Agreement (TRIPs) which set forth the minimum level of intellectual property rights which
must be provided by all states party to the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)).
32. See Amanda E. Compton, Acquiring a Flavor for Trademarks: There’s No Common Taste
in the World, 8 NW. J. TECH. & INTELL. PROP. 340, 342 (2010) (discussing the evolution of U.S.
trademark law to include non-traditional marks); Anne Gilson LaLonde & Jerome Gilson, Getting Real
with Nontraditional Trademarks: What’s Next after Red Oven Knobs, the Sound of Burning
Methamphetamine, and Goats on a Grass Roof, 101 TRADEMARK REP. 186, 188 (2011) (lamenting
the difficulty of non-traditional marks to be distinctive enough to be acceptable trademarks, but
highlighting the fact that some are acceptable); see also Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights, Dec. 15, 1993, Annex 1C, art. 15.1, 33 I. L. M. 81, 89 (1994) (describing

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sign is visible, i.e., it can be represented graphically. This requirement is
imposed upon each party to the Agreement.33
2. Rights of the Owner of Registered Trademarks
The Agreement clearly establishes the scope of the right, specifically the
general privileges of prohibition or ius prohibendi, the owner of a registered
trademark possesses:
Article 1708.2. Each Party shall provide to the owner of a registered
trademark the right to prevent all persons not having the owner’s
consent from using in commerce identical or similar signs for goods or
services that are identical or similar to those goods or services in respect
of which the owner’s trademark is registered, where such use would
result in a likelihood of confusion. In the case of the use of an identical
sign for identical goods or services, a likelihood of confusion shall be
presumed. The rights described above shall not prejudice any prior
rights, nor shall they affect the possibility of a Party making rights
available on the basis of use.34
The first point to consider is the risk of confusion, the same issue identified
by legal doctrine as one of the fundamental tenets of trademark law. It must
first be recognized that the risk of confusion is one of the central issues of unfair
competition and trademark law. The renowned Spanish commentator,
Fernández-Nóvoa, writes, “the risk of confusion between a trademark and
another trademark is a part or mechanism that operates in different sectors of
trademark law. One of the basic objections to registration of trademarks is the
likelihood of risk of confusion of the proposed trademark with a previously
registered trademark.”35 The author further states that the risk of confusion
must always be resolved from the perspective of the consumer public interested
in the acquisition of products or services.36 Indicating that the risk of confusion
flows from the similarity of the competing signs, much like another basic

the types of trademarks covered under the agreement). See generally CARLOS FERNÁNDEZ-NÓVOA,
TRATADO SOBRE DERECHO DE MARCAS 41 (2nd ed. 2004).
33. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(1).
34. See id. at art. 1708(2).
35. FERNÁNDEZ-NÓVOA, supra note 32, at 190; see also Compton, supra note 32 (discussing
the problem of confusion between trademarks); Timothy W. Blakely, Comment, Beyond the
International Harmonization of Trademark Law: The Community Trade Mark as a Model of Unitary
Transnational Trademark Protection, 149 U. PA. L. REV. 309, 326–28 (2000) (discussing the
Trademark Directive issued by the European Council to the member states of the European Union
addressing in part the risk of confusion on the part of the public with previously registered trademarks).
36. See FERNÁNDEZ-NÓVOA, supra note 32.

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factor: the identity or similarity of the products or services themselves,37 he
concludes that this “one factor as well as the other establish the boundaries of
ius prohibendi for the owner of the registered trademark.”38
Attempting to further explain the nuance behind the right granted to the
owner of the registered trademark, De la Fuente Garcia, a professor at the
prestigious Universidad Europea de Madrid, maintains that the trademark
owner,
does not exercise an absolute dominion over the sign but only over the
products or services for which the holder has registered the trademark.
The holder may oppose only those applications that utilize the
trademark on identical or similar products. The ius prohibendi granted
by law to oppose the use of trademark extends itself only to a specific
class of products or services, not to all products identifying themselves
with the same trademark.39
The fundamental right to oppose the use of a trademark arises when the
similarity between the goods or services and signs have a high probability of
confusion, and more so if identical. This provision relates to the constraint or
ius prohibendi, which circumvents the right of the owner of a registered
trademark. The boundaries of ius prohibendi are complemented by the positive
power of ius utendi, which is granted to the owner of the registered trademark
under the Agreement.40
3. Use of Trademarks
The Agreement provides that each party may subject use of a trademark to
registration.41 Nevertheless, the effective use of a trademark is not a

37. See id.
38. Id. at 264; see Kexin Li, Where is the Right Balance?–Exploring the Current Regulations
on Nontraditional Three-Dimensional Trademark Registration in the United States, the European
Union, Japan, and China, 30 WIS. INTL. L.J. 428, 434 (2012) (noting that one of the objectives of
trademarks is to give the owner the exclusive use of the mark); Blakely, supra note 35, at 328
(discussing article 5(1)(b) of the Trademark Directive issued by the European Council which, in
previous drafts, gave the owner of a trademark the exclusive right to prevent the use of his mark or a
similar sign for the same or similar goods if by such use there was serious likelihood of confusion on
the part of the public).
39. GARCÍA, supra note 31, at 141; NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(2) (discussing the rights
afforded to trademark owners by the member countries of NAFTA); see Li, supra note 38, at 434
(explaining that national trademark offices serve to facilitate searches by third parties that can be used
in opposition procedures against a trademark application).
40. See infra notes 65–67 and accompanying text. Translation: jus = the right (legal right);
prohibendi = to restrain, hinder, forbid, prevent. Id.
41. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(3).

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prerequisite for applying for registration.42 The Agreement further provides, in
the final section of the corresponding Article, that a party may not reject any
application based solely on the allegation that the asserted use has not taken
place before the expiration of a term of three years commencing on the date
that the application was filed.43 Legal doctrine considers that use is not
indispensable to the creation of the trademark.44 In other words, the fact that
the product has not been introduced into the stream of commerce does not mean
that the trademark has not been created. “Use is only necessary for the
conservation of the trademark and for maintaining an indefinite right of form,
and to avoid the expiration of the trademark.”45
4. Procedure for Trademark Registration
Each country who is party to NAFTA must establish a trademark
registration system and simplify the formalities for acquiring and maintaining
trademarks.46 Simplification means adopting clear uniform requirements for
trademark registrars commensurate with the capabilities of the signatory to the
Agreement.47 The Agreement establishes basic, general conditions to
42. See id. at art. 1708(3) (providing that a trademark owner does not have to put his trademark
into use before registering it); J. THOMAS MCCARTHY, MCCARTHY ON TRADEMARKS AND UNFAIR
COMPETITION: NAFTA AND GATT TRIPS USE OF THE DOCTRINE, § 29.63 (5th vol. 2013) (discussing
Article 1708 of NAFTA and comparing it with other intellectual property laws).
43. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(3).
44. See id. at art. 1708(3) (stating that “actual use of a trademark shall not be a condition for
filing an application for registration”); see also Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights, supra note 32, at 89 (explaining that the actual use of a trademark is not a precondition
for filing an application for registration); Stacey L. Dogan & Mark A. Lemley, Grounding Trademark
Law Through Trademark Use, 92 IOWA L. REV., 1670, 1675–77 (2007) (discussing the evolution of
U.S. law with regards to the use requirement for registration of trademarks).
45. See Dogan & Lemley, supra note 44 (discussing the requirement of use of a trademark to
avoid trademark cancellation); NAFTA, supra note 21, at art.1708(8) (providing that member states
“shall require the use of a trademark to maintain a registration [under NAFTA].”) See generally
GARCÍA, supra note 31, at 61.
46. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(4) (listing the requirements for a trademark
registration system); see also Laurinda L. Hicks & James R. Holbein, Convergence of National
Intellectual Property Norms in International Trading Agreements, 12 AM. U. J. INT’L L. & POL’Y 769,
794 (1997) (discussing the requirement for parties to implement a trademark registration system under
Article 1708(4) of NAFTA).
47. See Christopher Hunter, William Manson, & Margaret Ann Wilkinson, Intellectual
Property Rights in the Canada – United States Relationship, 36 CAN.-U.S. L.J. 169 (2012) (discussing
the framework under NAFTA and alluding to its purpose of uniformity); Walter G. Park, Technology
Trade and NAFTA, American University, Department of Economics, Working Paper (2007) (noting
that NAFTA provisions set minimum international intellectual property standards which are intended
to strengthen the intellectual property regimes of the three countries); Elke Elizabeth Werner, Are We
Trading Our Lanham Act Away? An Evaluation of Conflicting Provisions Between NAFTA and North
American Trademark Law, 2 SW. J. OF L. & TRADE AM. 227, 252 (1995) (describing NAFTA’s
requirement for fairness and uniformity in registration of trademarks). See generally NAFTA, supra

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normalize trademark registration and to grant minimum rights to the
applicant.48
The specific requirements for a trademark registration system are:
a. Examination of the application;
b. Notice to the applicant of any reasons for the refusal to register a
trademark;
c. Reasonable opportunity for the applicant to respond to the notice;
d. Publication of each trademark either before or promptly after it is
registered; and
e. Reasonable opportunity for interested persons to petition for a
cancellation of the registration of a trademark.49
These are minimum standards that each party shall develop more specifically
through its own trademark legislation.50
5. Objects that are Distinguished by the Trademark
What constitutes a trademark? The possibilities are practically unlimited,
for products as well as services. Legal doctrine and legislation generally define
“sign” as any sign that enjoys a distinctive force capable of graphic
representation and not prohibited by legislation, which may be adopted as a
trademark.51 The Agreement also states that “the nature of the goods or services
to which the trademark is to be applied shall in no case form an obstacle to

note 21, at art. 1708 (listing the rules pursuant to which trademarks are registered and used under
NAFTA).
48. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1701 (defining the general purpose of the agreement
between Mexico, Canada, and the United States).
49. See id.at art. 1703(4) (specifying the necessary elements for establishing a trademark
registration system).
50. See generally Park, supra note 47, at 3 (stating that “[a]ll three NAFTA countries have
incorporated the . . . NAFTA provisions into their national intellectual property laws”); James A.R.
Nafziger, NAFTA’s Regime for Intellectual Property: In the Mainstream of Public International Law,
19 HOUS. J. INT’L L. 807, 815–16 (1997) (demonstrating that while each of the three countries involved
in the NAFTA agreement adhere to general basic rules they diverge on details regarding trademarks);
see also NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1701 (describing that Mexico, Canada and the United States
must adhere to certain minimum standards set forth in NAFTA but aside from those they may create
their own unique trademark registration systems).
51. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(1) (stating the definition of a trademark under the
terms of NAFTA’s agreement, stating “a trademark consists of any sign or any combination of signs,
capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another. . .”); see also
Horowitz, supra note 31 (describing the general characteristics of a mark); Clark W. Lackert, Global
Trademark/Copyright Practice – Protection and Enforcement Issues, 488 PLI 171, 221–22 (1997)
(describing the meaning of the term sign in regards to NAFTA). But see Mitchell A. Frank, Creating
and Managing an International Trademark Program, 410 PLI 141,186 (1995) (citing that trademarks
are found to be unacceptable “when they are devoid of any distinctive character. . .”).

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registration of the requested trademark.”52
6. Rules Pertaining to the Notoriety of the Trademark
The notoriously recognized trademark is an important concept, and its
protection constitutes a fundamental part of trademark law.53 This protection
had a difficult beginning but thanks to legal doctrine and jurisprudence, its
recognition has been raised to the international level it enjoys today.54 Two
important actors play a key role in securing notoriety for a trademark. One is
the use by the trademark owner, which allows the mark to gain notoriety,
goodwill and prestige.55 On the other hand is the consumer who, as FernándezNóvoa affirms, “is not just a recipient of the brand, but on the contrary, is an
active player that plays a prominent role in the formation process of the
brand.”56 De la Fuente García affirms that the purpose for the legal protection

52. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(5).
53. See Leah Chan Grinvald, A Tale of Two Theories of Well–Known Marks, 13 VAND. J. ENT.
& TECH. L. 1, 18–19 (2010) (describing the evolution of the notoriously recognized trademark and its
importance in promoting a goal of free trade); Anne Hiaring, Basic Principles of Trademark Law, 713
PLI 7, 9 (2002) (explaining that the notoriety of trademarks is an important concept within trademark
law); see also Sheldon H. Klein, Understanding Basic Trademark Law 2002, 713 PLI 121, 125 (2002)
(describing in general that the definition and use of trademarks “are words, names, symbols, devices,
designs or other distinctive items which serve to identify the source of goods or services and distinguish
them from those sold by others”); James A. Rossi, Protection for Trademark Owners: The Ultimate
System of Regulating Search Engine Results, 42 SANTA CLARA L. REV. 295, 321 (2002) (showing how
important trademarks are to society at large in order to avoid problems with others copying from a
source).
54. See Grinvald, supra note 53, at 18 (noting that the international community has adopted the
well-known marks doctrine); Xuan-Thao N. Nguyen, The Digital Trademark Right: A Troubling New
Extraterritorial Reach of United States Law, 81 N.C.L. REV. 483, 506 (2003) (discussing the
importance of the field of trademark law); Sheila D. Rizzo, Does the Lanham Act Lose Meaning for
Companies that Operate Exclusively Over the Internet?, 10 J. INTELL. PROP. L. 211, 212–13 (2002)
(telling the background of the necessities to trademark law); Jerre B. Swann Sr., Dilution Redefined
for the Year 2002, 92 TRADEMARK REP. 585, 586–87 (2002) (giving the history of trademark law).
55. See Stylianos Malliaris, Protecting Famous Trademarks: Comparative Analysis of US and
EU Diverging Approaches - The Battle Between Legislatures and the Judiciary - Who is the Ultimate
Judge, 9 J. INTELL. PROP. 45, 46–47 (2010) (proposing that the nature of a notoriously recognized
mark requires it to gain widespread acceptance through use by the owner); Vincent N. Palladino,
Genericism Rationalized: Another View, 90 TRADEMARK REP. 469, 472 (2000) (expressing the
importance of notoriety within the field of trademarks); see Nancy Dwyer Chapman, Trade Dress
Protection in the United States After the Supreme Court Decision Two Pesos, in 361 ADVANCED
SEMINAR ON TRADEMARK LAW 7, 11–12 (1993) (noticing the role of notoriety in trademark law); see
also NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1701 (defining the general purpose of the agreement between
Mexico, Canada, and the United States).
56. CARLOS FERNÁNDEZ-NÓVOA, TRATADO SOBRE DERECHO DE MARCAS 28 (2001);
Malliaris, supra note 55, at 47 (noting that notoriety is based on consumer acceptance of a mark); Lara
Pearson, When Use Alone Just isn’t Enough: The Benefits of Federally Registering Trademarks and
Copyrights, 10 NEV. LAW 15 (2002) (explaining the pros and cons of trademarks); see also Peter
Ottosson, Brand-Napping- Goodwill Protection for Well-Known Trademarks, UNIVERSITY OF

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of trademarks is to safeguard the appreciation of quality and prestige that the
trademark owner has earned.57
Regarding the rules for notoriety of trademarks, the Agreement establishes
that to determine whether a trademark is notorious, its reputation in the market
should be considered, including its reputation in the member state where it is
promoted.58 No member states may require that the trademark’s reputation be
extended beyond the market where those products or services are sold.59
Additionally, it was resolved that article 6 of the Paris Convention be applied,
with necessary modifications, to services.60
Also noteworthy is the Joint Recommendation Regarding Protection of
Industrial Property, (hereinafter referred to as the Recommendation), adopted
by the General Assembly of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the thirtyfourth Reunion of the General Assembly for Member States of the WIPO on
September 20–29, 1999.61
The Recommendation states that protection be conferred on a notorious
trademark through the application of mutatis mutandis and the provisions
indicated by the Recommendation, which protect them against potentially
conflicting trademarks, commercial indicators and potentially Internet domain
names.62 Furthermore, the Recommendation analyzes factors that should be
GOTHENBERG 5–7 (2010) (describing the concept of goodwill prestige within trademarks).
57. See García, supra note 31; Malliaris, supra note 55, at 46 (stating that a trademark is a
“guarantee of quality”).
58. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(6); see also Amicus Letter of the International
Trademark Association in Prefel Sa v. Fahmi Babra et.al., 92 TRADEMARK REP. 1524, 1532 (2002)
(referring to the importance of reputation in member states).
59. See International Annual Review: The Seventeenth Yearly Review of International
Trademark Jurisprudence, 100 TRADEMARK REP. 329, 486 (2010) (explaining the member state’s role
in regards to a trademark’s reputation).
60. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(6) (stating the agreement that integrates the Paris
Convention into it); Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Mar. 20, 1883, England
– France – Sweden – United States, art. 6bis, available at http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/paris/
trtdocs_wo020.html (last visited Feb. 24, 2013) (stating the document referred to in NAFTA).
61. See WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization Geneva Assemblies of the Member
States of WIPO: Thirty–Fourth Series of Meetings, Sept. 20–29, 1999 (detailing the specifics of the
WIPO meeting), available at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=3837 (last
visited Mar. 24, 2013); WIPO, Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and
Geographical Indications (Apr. 26, 2002), available at http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/sct/en/sct_
8/sct_8_2.doc (explaining the adoption of the Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the
Protection of Industrial Property from the “Thirty–Fourth Series” of meetings); see also NAFTA,
supra note 21, at art. 1701 (referring generally to the field of Intellectual Property law).
62. See WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization Geneva Assemblies of the Member
States of WIPO: Thirty–Fourth Series of Meetings, supra note 61; WIPO, Standing Committee on the
Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, supra note 61; see also WIPO,
Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection Marks, and Other Industrial Property
Rights in Signs on the Internet (referring to the Recommendation’s views on Internet matters),

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considered in determining whether a trademark is notorious. This helps
authorities make such a determination.63 The Recommendation also studies
conflicting trademarks, commercial indicators, and Internet domain names.64 It
should be noted that the Recommendation is not binding on parties to the
Agreement. It is advisory only, and should be treated as such. It is not a norm
on the subject matter, but rather a guide to orient the countries or regional
trading blocks to reconcile their intellectual property legislation.
7. Duration of the Certificate
Recognizing that the right to register a trademark has an exclusivity
character, the registered trademark confers upon its owner an exclusive right
consisting of two components: a negative one and a positive one.65 Focusing
on the first component, the ius prohibendi, which is also the essential
component of the trademark exclusive right, the law grants the owner of the
trademark a period known as “duration of protection.”66 NAFTA establishes
available at http://www.wipo.org/about-ip/en/development_iplaw/pub845.htm (last visited Mar. 24,
2013).
63. See WIPO, Joint Recommendation Regarding Provisions for Protection of Distinctive
Trademarks, (art. 2, 1999) (considering what determines if a trademark is notoriously known and
giving rules on how to protect well-known marks), available at http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/
development_iplaw/pub833.htm (last visited Mar. 24, 2013); Joint Recommendation Concerning
Provisions on the Protection of Well-Known Marks, (art. 2, 1999) (determining whether a trademark
is distinctive), available at http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/development_iplaw/pub833.htm (last
visited Mar. 24, 2013).
64. See WIPO, Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Marks, and
Other Industrial Rights in Signs, on the Internet, supra note 62 (addressing the issue of internet domain
names); WIPO – Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical
Indications (SCT) (2002), available at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/topic.jsp?group_id=63 (last
visited Mar. 24, 2013) (covering the issue of commercial indicators); WIPO, Internationalized Domain
Names – Intellectual Property Considerations, available at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/
internationalized/index.html (last visited Mar. 24, 2013) (discussing the use of domain names on the
internet).
65. See Tania S. Voon & Andrew D. Mitchell, Implications of WTO Law for Plain Packaging
of Tobacco Products, Georgetown U. L Center (Jun. 30, 2011), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=
1874593 (discussing the positive and negative rights derived from a trademark); Gregory J. Battersby,
The License Agreement – A Mock Negotiation, 722 PLI 277, 314 (2003) (indicating the exclusivity
possessed by those who have a trademark); see also William Robinson, Giles Pratt & Ruth Kelly,
Trademark Law Harmonization in the European Union: Twenty Years Back and Forth, 23 FORDHAM
INTELL. PROP. MEDIA & ENT. L.J. 731, 754 (2013) (discussing the impact of registering a mark); David
K. Boudreau, William Sloan Coats, & Vickie L. Feeman, Copyright and Trademark Licensing, 722
PLI 799, 832 (2003) (showing the importance of registering a trademark). See generally Pearson,
supra note 56, at 17 (showing the benefits to registering trademarks).
66. See Geertjan De Vries, Enrico Pennings, & Joern H. Block, Trademark or Patent? The
Effects of Market Structure, Customer Type and Venture Capital Financing on Start-Ups’ IP
Decisions, ERIM REPORT SERIES (Apr. 9, 2013), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2247281
(discussing the renewal requirements for trademarks); see also Aurea Sunol, El Presupuesto de Uso
en el Tráfico Económico Para Productos o Servicios en el Actual Derecho de Marcas: ¿Un Paso Más

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that the minimum duration of a certificate of registration is ten years, renewable
indefinitely in increments of ten years, as long as the established requirements
for renewal are satisfied.67
8. Obligations and Formalities of Using the Trademark
The obligatory use of a registered trademark is one of the fundamental
tenets of trademark law. The legal doctrine of Spain has made very valuable
contributions in this field. One such work exclusively studies the use of
trademarks at different stages in the duration of a distinct sign.68 The author of
this work meticulously analyses and explains all the related aspects of this
principle.69 NAFTA regulates different situations related to the obligatory use
of the registered trademark.70 It begins by conferring on the owner of the
trademark a minimum term of two years within which to initiate the use of the
trademark.71 NAFTA also recognizes other valid reasons underlying the lack
of use independent from the actions of the trademark owner, including ad
exemplum import restrictions or other officially imposed market closing
requirements applicable to products or services identified by the trademark.72
A legal remedy for the use of the trademark is available to a third party who
has been authorized and controlled by the trademark owner.73 However, there
is a specific prohibition on the parties not to encumber the use of the trademarks
in commerce by imposing special requirements, such as the collective use of

Hacia la Protección Ilimitada de lasMarcas? [The Requisite of Use in Connection with Goods and
Services in the Current Trademark Law: A Further Step to Unlimited Protection of Trade Mark],
InDret (Oct. 1, 2012), available at http://www.indret.com/pdf/936.es_2.pdf (giving guidelines for the
area of trademarks). But see Alison Marcotte, Concurrent Protection of Products by Patent and Trade
Dress: Use of the Functionality Doctrine in Marketing Displays, Inc. v. Traffix Devices, Inc., 36 NEW
ENG. L. REV. 327, 336 (2001) (stating that there is potentially unlimited time for trademarks).
67. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(7).
68. See Hiaring, supra note 53, at 380–83 (giving the history of Spain’s trademark law); LuisAlfonso Duran, The New European Community Trademark, 417 PLI 353, 358 (1995) (stating Spain’s
role in international trademarks). See generally Valentine Korah, The Interface Between Intellectual
Property and Antitrust: The European Experience, 69 ANTITRUST L.J. 801 n.6 (2002) (showing how
it is possible to register a mark in Spain that will prevail throughout the common market).
69. See García, supra note 31.
70. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at arts. 1708(8)–(10) (addressing the requirements for
registering a trademark and patents).
71. See id. at art. 1708(2) (discussing registration requirements).
72. See id. at art. 1708 (noting that NAFTA discusses requirements imposed on products or
services that are identified by the trademark).
73. See id. at art. 1708(9) (requiring parties to recognize third-party use of a trademark). But
see Allen Z. Hertz Shaping the Trident: Intellectual Property Under NAFTA, Investment Protection
Agreements and at the World Trade Organization, 3 CAN.-U.S. L.J. 261, 290 n.135 (1997) (stating that
NAFTA may be understood to require the owner to receive nothing more than the negative right to
prevent unauthorized third parties from using his trademark).

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two trademarks, or a use that diminishes the function of the trademark as a
function of its origin.74
9. License and Transfer of the Trademark
Trademarks are intangibles which may be the object of legal business, and,
as such, it is necessary to discuss the two legal forms of commerce in
trademarks regulated by NAFTA: transfer and licensing of trademarks.75
Transfer is different from license.76 Transfer involves full transmission of the
protection in and title to the trademark, while license is a mere authorization to
use the trademark granted by the trademark owner to a third party.77
Unrestricted transferability of trademarks is the prevailing norm today.78 This
allows, without limitation, the transferability of the trademark, which NAFTA
regulates.79 The owner of a registered trademark has a right to transfer it
together with or independently of the remaining business of the transferor.80
74. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(10) (noting that NAFTA acknowledges the lack of
use resulting from import restrictions or other applicable requirements).
75. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(11) (establishing that a party to NAFTA may
determine under what conditions trademarks may be licensed or assigned).
76. See The Beanstalk Grp., Inc. v. AM Gen. Corp., 143 F. Supp. 2d 1020, 1029 (N.D. Ind.
2001) (distinguishing the differences between a license and a transfer); see also James O. Tomerlin
Trust v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, 87 T.C. 876, 888 (T.C. 1986) (stating that the differences
between licenses and transfer is not always clear, but differences can be made upon review); Consol.
Foods Corp. v. U.S., 569 F.2d 436, 437 (7th Cir. 1978) (acknowledging the problems when dealing
with transfers and licenses and the differing degrees of retaining property rights).
77. See Condom Sense, Inc. v. Alshalabi, 390 S.W.3d 734, 759–60 (Tex. App. 2012)
(explaining that a license does not confer title but rather “limited rights, less than” a transfer (citing
Acme Valve & Fittings Co. v. Wayne, 386 F. Supp. 1162, 1165 (S.D.Tex.1974))); Moraine Prods. v.
ICI Am., Inc., 538 F.2d 134, 143 (7th Cir. 1976); Keystone Type Foundry v. Fastpress Co., 272 F. 242,
244–45 (2d Cir. 1921) (describing how a transfer involves the exchange of the entire title); see also
Jones v. Berger, 58 F. 1006, 1007 (C.C.D. Md. 1893). But see Sanofi, S.A. v. Med-Tech Veterinarian
Prods., Inc., 565 F. Supp. 931, 939 (D.N.J. 1983) (holding that there is no obligation to record a license
thus demonstrating the differing levels of obligation upon transfer or license).
78. See Gardner v. Nike, Inc., 279 F.3d 774, 780 (9th Cir. 2002) (stating that “‘ownership’
carries with it an unrestricted right to freely transfer the license”); see also Info. Resources Inc., v. Test
Mktg. Grp. Inc., 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18216, 17 (S.D.O.H. 1991) (demonstrating a license/ transfer
relationship); Alejandro López-Velarde, Trademarks in Mexico: The Effects of the North American
Free Trade Agreement, 17 HOUS. J. INT’L L. 49, 98 (1994) (noting that the default right to assign a
trademark is vested upon transfer).
79. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(11) (stating that NAFTA controls the license and
transfer disputes); see also López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 98 (noting that the default right to assign
a trademark is vested upon transfer); Appendix 11-Intellectual Property as Collateral, 41 IDEA 481
n.32 (2001-2002) (acknowledging NAFTA’s role in the regulation of intellectual property).
80. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(11) (stating that each transferor can decide to what
extent the trademark will be restricted upon transfer); see also López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 98
(noting that the conditional right to assign a trademark is in control of the parties to arrange); Appendix
11-Intellectual Property as Collateral, supra note 79, at n.32 (demonstrating the limits imposed on
transferee without the express consent of the license).

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By the same token, trademarks can be the subject of a license agreement,
by virtue of which the trademark owner (licensor) authorizes a third party
(licensee) to use the trademark in exchange for compensation or royalty fee.81
The traditional role of the trademark license constitutes one possible mean by
which the trademark owner can extend the manufacturing and sale or
distribution of products and services to a new geographic market through the
corresponding trademark.82 Before granting a trademark license, the licensor
should consider all positive and negative factors that might be involved in the
operation. The owner should then exercise caution in selecting the licensee
because in his hands rests the goodwill and force of the trademark.83 Finally,
throughout the process, the owner should not forget that the consumer public is
the ultimate beneficiary of the purpose that the trademark is intended to fulfill.84
NAFTA regulates transfers and licenses in a very disengaged manner. For
transfers, as was previously stated, NAFTA codifies the principle of
unrestricted transferability of a registered trademark, independent of the
transfer of the enterprise to which the trademark belongs. For licenses, NAFTA
limits itself to prohibit obligatory licensing of trademarks.85
Transfer and license of trademarks should be registered with the
corresponding authority of each party to place third parties on official notice.

81. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(11) (stating that the parties have the right to set
whatever monetary value to their exchange); see also López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 98 (affirming
the parties rights to contract at their own will); Appendix 11-Intellectual Property as Collateral, supra
note 79, at n.32 (demonstrating that the transferor and transferee are free to set prices on their licensing
exchange).
82. See Instructional Sys. Dev. Corp. v. Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co., 817 F.2d 639, 645 (10th Cir.
1987) (demonstrating one of the means by which a licensor can extend the market for the product or
services); see also Motor Werks Partners v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20999, 17
(N.D. Ill. 2001) (describing a situation where a license was granted overseas to expand consumer base);
S Indus., Inc. v. Stone Age Equip., Inc., 12 F. Supp. 2d 796 n.14 (N.D. Ill. 1998) (showing the ability
that a trademark owner has to extend the owner’s rights in additional markets).
83. See Am. Needle, Inc. v. Nat’l Football League, 130 S. Ct. 2201, 2206, 176 L. Ed. 2d 947
(2010) (discussing a case whereby a license was used to expand into a market); Instructional Sys. Dev.
Corp., 817 F.2d at 645 (demonstrating one of the means by which a licensor can extend the market for
the product or services); see also BMW of N. Am., LLC v. Motor Werks Partners, L.P., 03 C 4109,
2004 WL 422733 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (describing a situation where a license was granted overseas to
expand consumer base); S Indus., 12 F. Supp. 2d at 796–802 (showing the ability that a trademark
owner has to extend the owner’s rights in additional markets).
84. See Cotton Ginny, Ltd., v. Cotton Gin, Inc., 691 F. Supp. 1347, 1354–55 (S.D. Fla. 1988)
(noting the ultimate benefit of a license transfer is to the consumer public); see also Vision Ctr. v.
Opticks, Inc., 596 F.2d 111, 118 (5th Cir. 1979); Am. Heritage Life Ins. Co. v. Heritage Life Ins. Co.,
494 F.2d 3, 12 (5th Cir. 1974) (citing a judge’s interpretation of a license transfer).
85. See Gardner, 279 F.3d at 780 (stating that NAFTA grants the unrestricted right to freely
transfer the license); see also Info. Resources Inc., 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18216 at 17 (demonstrating
a license transfer relationship); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 98 (NAFTA prohibits obligatory
licensing.)

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On this point, it would be beneficial to mention the value of the Collective
Recommendation Regarding Trademark Licenses adopted by the Assembly of
the Paris Union Assembly for Protection of Industrial Property and the General
Assembly of the World Organization of Intellectual Property (WIPO) at the 35th
Reunion of the Assembly of the Member States of the WIPO.86 The purpose
of the Recommendation is to harmonize and simplify the registration of
trademarks licenses among parties to the Agreement; it is not a norm, but rather
a guide to help countries or regions reconcile their intellectual property
legislation.87
10. Exceptions
NAFTA contemplates the possibility of limitations by the parties on the
exclusive use of trademarks.88 NAFTA proclaims ad exemplum the relative
limitation on the correct use of descriptive terms and allows the parties to
introduce other exceptions, “provided that such exceptions take into account
the legitimate interests of the trademark owner and of other persons.”89
11. Causes for Rejection of Registration
The Agreement sets forth a series of prohibitions to prevent certain signs
from being unduly registered.90 The first prohibition is on the registration as
trademarks, of words in Spanish, French or English, that generically describe
the products or services themselves or the types of products or services to which
the trademark is applicable.91 This prohibition is important to Mexican
86. See The Assembly of the Paris Union Assembly for Protection of Industrial Property and
the General Assembly of the World Organization of Intellectual Property (WIPO) at the 35th Reunion
of the Assembly of the Member States of the WIPO September 25 to October 3, 2000 , available at
http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/development_iplaw/pdf/pub835.pdf (noting that WIPO is a
specialized agency of the United Nations system of organizations); see also WIPO Administered
Treaties, WIPO.INT, http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ (last visited Mar. 30, 2013) (listing twenty six
international treaties dealing with different aspects of intellectual property protection administered by
WIPO).
87. See Joint Recommendation Concerning Trademarks Licenses, WIPO.INT,
http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/development_iplaw/pdf/pub835.pdf%20(last visited Mar. 30, 2013).
88. See The Assembly of the Paris Union, supra note 86; see also WIPO Administered Treaties,
supra note 86 (WIPO administers twenty six international treaties dealing with different aspects of
intellectual property protection); John Mugabe, Intellectual Property Protection and Traditional
Knowledge: An Exploration in International Policy Discourse, Paper Prepared for the World
Intellectual Property Organization (December 1998) (stating that the Assembly was merely a guide to
assist in trademark legislation).
89. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(12).
90. See id.at art. 1708(11) (stating that the parties must prevent certain signs from being unduly
registered).
91. See id. at art. 1708(13) (stating that each party shall prohibit the registration as a trademark
of words, at least in English, French or Spanish, that generically designate goods or services or types

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exporters because heretofore they have confronted non-traditional tariff
barriers, such as registration by citizens or residents of the United States of
generic names in Spanish, preventing Mexican manufacturers from exporting
to the United States because their labels or packaging used the same generic
name registered as a trademark.92
The second prohibition is on signs that contain or consist of immoral or
scandalous material and those that might cause confusion for consumers.93
Also prohibited are signs that contain elements disparaging or falsely
suggesting a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs,
national symbols of any of the parties, or that degrade or affect their
reputation.94 These prohibitions, in part, attempt to protect consumers per se
and their relationship to society and protect the parties by guaranteeing the
possession and exclusive use of their flags, shields, and other emblems.95
C. Restraining Application of Intellectual Property Rights
One of the principal elements of NAFTA Chapter XVII on Intellectual
Property is the provisions regarding procedure and internal sources, which
serve as a guide for recognition of intellectual property rights.96 The
governments of the three signatories shall insure that intellectual property rights
are legally codified and that penalties for violations are strict enough to deter
potential infringes.97
While this chapter was negotiated and elaborated in conformity with

of goods or services to which the trademark applies).
92. See id. at art. 1708(13).
93. See id. at art. 1708(14).
94. See id.
95. See id.
96. See id. at art. 1718(1) (stating that each party will adopt procedures to enable an intellectual
property right holder to bring an application for punishment of infringement on such rights).
97. See Catherine Brown & Christine Manolakas, Trade in Technology Within the Free Trade
Zone: The Impact of the WTO Agreement, NAFTA, and Tax Treaties on the NAFTA Signatories, 21
NW. J. INT’L L. & BUS. 71, 83 (2000-01) (providing that each party must provide domestic legislation
to ensure fair and equitable enforcement of intellectual property rights); Donald L. Dubuque,
Comment, The Implication of NAFTA to Intellectual Property Protection in the U.S. and Mexico and
the Extraterritoriality of U.S. Intellectual Property Laws, 5 J. INT’L L. & PRAC. 139, 149–50 (1996)
(discussing the powers that NAFTA grants to administrative and judicial authorities in Mexico). See
generally James M. Cooper, The North American Free Trade Agreement and Its Legacy on the
Resolution of Intellectual Property Disputes, 43 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 157, 171 (2012) (discussing the
changes Mexico implemented in response to NAFTA’s Intellectual Property rights requirements).

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TRIPS,98 effective January 1, 1995,99 it is more precise.100 Articles 1714 to
1718 of the Agreement address the coercive application of trademark law, as
indicated by their headings.101 The titles of the cited articles also feature brief
commentaries on each of them in the following sections. This part of the
chapter on intellectual property is important because treaties covering
substantive protection of intellectual property rights would be unenforceable
without an adequate legal framework to remedy infringed rights.
1. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: General Provisions
The common characteristic that should cover all the procedures for
intellectual property rights is found in article 1714.1, which addresses a
fundamental principle: the domestic law of each party should contain
procedures that allow the adoption of effective measures against all acts that
violate intellectual property rights, including expedited resources to prevent
and discourage future infractions, avoiding the creation of barriers to legitimate
trade, and establishing safeguards against procedural abuses.102 This article
further addresses equitable procedures,103 summary disposition,104 judicial

98. See Cooper, supra note 97, at 165–66 (discussing the influence of NAFTA on TRIPS);
Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, World Trade Organization Annual
Report (1995) (describing the Council’s focus on intellectual property obligations), available at
http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/wto-multilateral-affairs/-world-trade-organization/counciltrade-related-aspects-in (last visited Mar. 30, 2013); Judith H. Bello, Alan F. Holmer, & Joseph J.
Norton, NAFTA: The North American Free Trade Agreement: A New Frontier in International Trade
and Investment in the Americas, 89 AM. J. INT’L L. 668, 670 (1995) (book review) (stating that the
TRIPS agreement falls short of NAFTA provisions on intellectual property).
99. See WTO, Overview: The TRIPS Agreement, http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/
intel2_e.htm (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (stating that the effective date of TRIPS is 1 January 1995);
Kimberly A. Czub, Argentina’s Emerging Standard of Intellectual Property Protection: A Case Study
of the Underlying Conflicts Between Developing Countries, TRIPS Standards, and the United States,
33 CASE W. RES. J. INT’L L. 191, 196 (2001) (providing that the WTO and TRIPS were ratified in
January of 1995); John E. Giust, Noncompliance with TRIPS by Developed and Developing Countries:
Is TRIPS Working?, 8 IND. INT’L & COMP. L. REV. 69, 78 (1997-98) (stating that TRIPS entered into
force on January 1, 1995).
100. See Cooper, supra note 97, at 166 (noting that NAFTA expanded TRIPS intellectual
property protections); Sandrine Cahn & Daniel Schimmel, The Cultural Exception: Does it Exist in
GATT and GATS Frameworks? How Does it Affect or is it Affected by the Agreement on TRIPS?, 15
CARDOZO ARTS & ENT. L.J. 281, 307 (1997) (stating that the NAFTA provisions on intellectual
property goes beyond the TRIPS agreement); Bruce Zagaris, Addendum: Revenge of the Tequila;
Crime Gathers Momentum U.S.-Mexico Relations, 3 SW. J. L. & TRADE AM. 85, 98 (1996) (stating that
the TRIPS enforcement mechanisms are not as precise as NAFTA’s).
101. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at arts. 1714–1718 (providing guidelines for the general and
specific procedures necessary to enforce intellectual property rights).
102. See id. at art. 1714(1).
103. See id. at art. 1714(2).
104. See id. at art. 1714(3).

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review,105 and absence of a duty to establish a distinct legal system.106
2. Specific Procedural and Remedial Aspects of Civil and Administrative
Procedure
This part of the Agreement addresses just and equitable proceedings;
guidelines for obtaining evidence; resources; judicial mandates; damages and
prejudices; removal or destruction of pirated or counterfeited goods, and other
resources; right to information; indemnification from the accused; and
application of principles to administrative procedures.107
3. Precautionary Measures
Detailed guidelines are established over the following: prompt and effective
precautionary measures; inaudita altera parte in relevant cases;108
miscellaneous procedures, safeguard against abuse; compensation to the
accused under unjust circumstances; and application of principles to ordered
precautionary measures as a result of administrative proceedings.109
4. Criminal Procedures and Penalties
It is established that each party shall enact procedures and sanctions against
willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy, which may include
imprisonment and/or fines and decree the seizure, forfeiture or destruction of
infringing goods and any material and equipment used in the commission
thereof.110
5. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the Border
The Agreement further provides for the duty to grant trademark owners the
right to assistance from customs officials against counterfeit trademarks of
products or services, without an obligation for imports de minimis; competent
authority; safeguard measures against abuse; right of inspection and right to
information; destruction and elimination of infringing goods; and resources.111

105.
106.
107.
108.

See id. at art. 1714(4).
See id. at art.1714(5).
See id. at arts.1715(1)–(8).
Translated in Latin to mean “without hearing the other party.” See BLACK’S LAW
DICTIONARY 763 (7th ed. 1999).
109. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at arts. 1716(1)–(8).
110. See id. at arts. 1717(1)–(3).
111. See id. at arts. 1718(1)–(14).

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IV. APPLICATION OF NAFTA TRADEMARK REGULATION TO THE MEXICAN
LEGAL SYSTEM
The Mexican Constitution is the regulating framework of the national legal
system.112 Therefore, it is important to review articles 28 and 133 of the
Mexican Constitution because they help explain the attempt to reconcile
Mexican trademark law with its counterpart under NAFTA. Article 28 of the
Mexican Constitution establishes that the privileges granted to authors and
artists for the production of their works do not constitute monopolies, nor do
they confer upon inventors the exclusive use of their inventions.113 As stated
in the Mexican Senate Report on the NAFTA “chapter XVII of the Agreement
is compatible with this constitutional guideline and with the international
obligations agreed to by Mexico.”114 Article 133 holds that the treaties
executed by the President of the Republic with approval of the Senate, and in
accordance with the Constitution, shall be the supreme law of the nation.115
112. See Alberto Acosta, El Buen (con)Vivir, Una Utopía Por (re)Construir: Alcances de la
Constitución de Montecristi, 4 OTRA ECONOMÍA 8, 9 (2010) available at http://unisinos.br/revistas/
index.php/otraeconomia/article/view/1177/342 (noting that the Mexican Constitution is the framework
for national laws); Tim R. Samples & Jose Luis Vittor, Energy Reform and the Future of Mexico’s Oil
Industry: The Pemex Bidding Rounds and Integrated Service Contracts, 7 TEX. J. OIL GAS & ENERGY
L. 215, 222 (2011-12) (explaining that Mexico’s national law is based on its Constitution). See
generally Owen Bonheimer & Paul Supple, Current Development 2001-2002: Unauthorized Practice
of Law by U.S. Lawyers in U.S.-Mexico Practice, 15 GEO. J. LEGAL ETHICS 697, 702 (2002) (discussing
how the Mexican Constitution regulates the practice of law in Mexico); Debra F. Guajardo, Comment,
Redefining the Expropriation of a Foreign Direct Investment in Mexico, 42 S. TEX. L. REV. 1309, 1311
(2001) (stating that by ratifying NAFTA, Mexico has created a legal conflict between that set forth in
NAFTA and the Mexican Constitution).
113. See Constitutión Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos [C.P]. Feb. 5, 1917, art. 28,
available at http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/1.pdf (stating that “the privileges that are
conferred to the authors and artist for a determined timeframe, for the production of their works and
those privileges conferred on inventors for the exclusive use of their inventions. . .” do not constitute
a monopoly).
114. See FERNANDO SERRANO MIGALLON, MÉXICO EN EL ORDEN INTERNACIONAL DE LA
PROPIEDAD INDUSTRIAL 545 (vol. I 2000) (providing the Senate pronouncement on the NAFTA,
Mexico, D.F., November 18, 1993, in which NAFTA is approved). See generally Craig R. Giesze,
Mexico’s New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty System: Policy and Legal Implications, As Well
As Practical Business Risks and Realities, for United States Exporters to Mexico in the Era of the
North American Free Trade Agreement, 25 ST. MARY’S L.J. 885, 959 (1994) (providing that NAFTA
and the Mexican Constitution make up the supreme law of the land); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at
84–85 (discussing the relationship between NAFTA and the Mexican Constitution).
115. See Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, supra note 113, at art. 133
(stating: “This Constitution, the laws that emanate from the Congress of the Union and all agreements
in accordance with them, entered into by the President of the Republic, with approval of the Senate,
shall be the Supreme Law of the whole Union”); James T. McHugh, North American Federalism And
Its Legal Implications, 4 NORTE AMÉRICA Jan.–Jun. 2009, 55, at 66 (noting that article 133 is the
supreme law of Mexico); John P. Bowman, The Panama Convention and its Implementation Under
the Federal Arbitration Act, 11 AM. REV. INT’L ARB. 1, 187 n.38 (2000) (providing that Article 133 of
the Mexican Constitution should be considered the supreme law of the whole union).

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There is also a jurisprudential thesis from the Mexican Supreme Court that
clarifies the doctrinal debate regarding the hierarchical structure of Mexican
laws.116 The Supreme Court of Justice, in its interpretation of constitutional
article 133, holds that international treaties are inferior to fundamental law but
superior to federal and state law.117 Furthermore, Mexico’s Law on
Formalization of Treaties regulates the formalization of treaties and
interinstitutional agreements in the international arena, including NAFTA.118
NAFTA complied with the legal requirements cited above and, furthermore,
since NAFTA considered the jurisprudence of the Mexican Supreme Court, we
can therefore conclude that the treaty is in accord with the Mexican legal
system.119
The current national legislation on industrial property is found in the
following regulations:
 Industrial Property Law
 Industrial Property Law Regulations
 Decree Creating the Mexican Institute for Industrial Property
 Industrial Property Institute Regulations
116. See generally Giesze, supra note 114, at 1020–21 (discussing the Mexican Supreme Court
in relation to NAFTA); Reka S. Koerner, Pregnancy Discrimination in Mexico: Has Mexico Complied
With the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation?, 4 TEX. F. ON C.L. & C.R. 235, 248 (1999)
(discussing the Mexican Supreme Court’s role in jurisprudence); Robert M. Kossick, Jr., Litigation in
the United States and Mexico: A Comparative Overview, 31 U. MIAMI INTER-AM. L. REV. 23, 26
(2000) (describing the procedure and inner-workings of the Mexican Supreme Court).
117. See Instancia: Pleno de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación. Localización: Novena
Época, Instancia: Pleno, Fuente: Semanario Judicial de la Federación y su Gaceta, Tomo: X
Noviembre de 1999, Tesis: P. LXXVII/99, Página:46, Materia: Constitucional, Tesis aislado (stating
that “International Treaties are to be hierarchically placed above federal and local laws and are to be
second only to the federal constitution”); see also Bradford Stone & Santiago González Luna M.,
Aggrieved Buyer’s Right to Performance or Money Damages Under the CISG, U.C.C., and Mexican
Commercial Code, 30 J.L. & COM. 23, 57 (2011) (discussing the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice
resolution that put international treaties at the highest level of the Mexican legal system, superseded
only by the Constitution). See generally Constitutión Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, supra
note 113, at art. 133 (providing the language from Article 133 of the Mexican Constitution); Stephen
Clarkson, NAFTA and the WTO’s Role in Transforming Mexico’s Economic System, in MEXICO’S
POLITICS AND SOCIETY IN TRANSITION 215, 219 (Joseph S. Tulchin & Andrew D. Selee eds., 2002)
(stating that pursuant to Article 133 of the Mexican Constitution, provisions from international
conventions have become the “supreme law of the land”).
118. See Law on the Formalization of Treaties, published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación,
on Jan. 2, 1992, available at http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/216.pdf (last visited Apr.
28, 2013). See generally Mark Aspinwall, NAFTA-ization: Regionalization and Domestic Political
Adjustment in the North American Economic Area, 47 J. COMMON MKT. STUD. 1, 8–9 (2009)
(discussing Mexico’s adaptations to meet international treaties).
119. See Garvey, supra note 5, at 172–73 (providing that recent submissions to NAFTA favor
the need in the Mexican legal system for more judicial independence). See generally Aspinwall, supra
note 118, at 8–9 (discussing NAFTA’s incorporation into the Mexican legal system); Clarkson, supra
note 117, 219 (stating that NAFTA had a direct effect on the Mexican legal system).

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Agreement Establishing Fees for Services of Mexican Institute for
Industrial Property
 Federal Criminal Code
 Federal Code of Criminal Procedure
For a better understanding of the current national legislation, it would be
helpful to briefly review its recent background. Since the 1980’s, and
particularly in 1986 with its admission into GATT, Mexico formally began its
commercial liberalization and the process of worldwide economic
integration.120 At that time, Mexico increased its presence in international
markets, principally through exports of manufactured products.121 As a
consequence, the national legislation on industrial property had to acquire a
form compatible with that of its trading partners.122
One law was revised to conform to new international standards in industrial
property matters: the former Law of Inventions and Trademarks, which on June
120. The true significance of the commercial liberalization of Mexico resides in it being a
catalyst for national development, given that it contributes to the inclusion of new regions and
enterprises in the ambit of international trade. WTO, Trade Policy Review: Mexico, supra note 16, at
9; see Ruth L. Okediji, Back to Bilateralism? Pendulum Swings in International Intellectual Property
Protection, 1 U. OTTAWA L. & TECH. J. 125, 128–29, (2003-04) (discussing Mexico’s transition from
protectionist economic policies to more liberal trade policies); Mexico Country Strategy Paper 20072013, supra note 18, at 6 (noting that Mexico has pursued an ambitious policy of trade liberalization);
see also Kevin A. Wechter, NAFTA: A Complement to GATT or a Setback to Global Free Trade?, 66
S. CAL. L. REV. 2611, 2622 (1992-93) (alluding to Mexico’s prior reluctance to begin economic
liberalization and integration).
121. At the beginning of the decade of the 1980’s, Mexican exports were almost exclusively
oil. The hydrocarbons, whose foreign sales represented the principal source of revenues for the
government, were then the principal product of exportation for Mexico and represented almost seventy
percent of the total exports in 1982. Nonetheless, the pattern of exportation has radically changed. In
2012, according to the Mexican Secretary of Economy, eighty-five percent of Mexican exportations
were non-oil products. See Información Estadística y Arancelaria: Balanza Comercial de México Año
Previo de Entrada en Vigor de los TLCs .vs. 2012, Total, Se, http://www.economia.gob.mx/files/
comunidad_negocios/comercio_exterior/informacion_estadistica/total_201.%20pdf%20(last visited
Apr. 28, 2013) (showing that in 2012 Mexico exported $370.9 billion dollars in total exports).
Información Estadística y Arancelaria: Balanza Comercial de MéxicoAaño Previo de Entrada en
Vigor
de
los
TLCs
.vs.
2012,
No
Petroleras,
Se,
http://www.economia.gob.mx/files/comunidad_negocios/comercio_exterior/informacion_
estadistica/nopetroleras_2012.pdf (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (showing that in 2012 Mexico exported
$318.5 billion dollars worth of non-oil exports); Villarreal, supra note 8, at 2–3 (noting Mexico’s
increased global competitiveness and trade liberalization following its accession to the GATT).
122. See Cooper, supra note 97, at 171 (noting that Mexico had to make considerable changes
to meet the requirements of NAFTA); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 50–51 (recognizing that
economic integration also requires compatibility with the international community); see also Edwin S.
Flores Troy, The Development of Modern Frameworks for Patent Protection: Mexico, a Model for
Reform, 6 TEX. INTELL. PROP. L.J. 133, 134 (1998) (referring to the requirement that Mexico comply
with international intellectual property standards). See generally Lic. José Augustín Portal, Mexican
Standards Related Policy and Regulation, 9 U.S.-MEX. L.J. 7, 10 (2001) (identifying the need for
Mexico to develop rules and procedures compatible with those of its trading partners).

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27, 1991 was published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación as La Ley de
Fomento y Proteccion a la Propiedad Industrial.123 This law did not follow
NAFTA (Chapter XVII) enacted on January 1, 1994, but rather it was Mexico’s
response to GATT and to TRIPS.124 The Law of Promotion and Protection of
Intellectual Property of 1991 managed to provide, before NAFTA, what
commentators considered a truly modern legal framework comparable to
existing ones in the countries with which Mexico had maintained extended
trade relations, i.e., the United States, Canada, and European countries, among
Furthermore, establishment of an administrative institution
others.125
specializing in the Mexican industrial property system was foreseen, to wit, the
Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, a decentralized body with legal
capacity and autonomy outlined in the industrial property legislation.126
Turning to a review of current legislation, when NAFTA was enacted on
January 1, 1994 and in light of article 133 of the Mexican Constitution, it
became the supreme law of the union per the Constitution.127 Even though
123. See Ley de Fomento y Protección de la Propiedad Industrial [Law of Promotion and
Protection of Industrial Property], Diario Oficial de la Federación [DO], 27 de Junio de 1991 (Mex.)
(detailing the specifics of the new provisions of the industrial property law). See López-Velarde, supra
note 78, at 66–67 (describing the new legislation as a model for other countries to follow). The latest
amendment to Mexico’s Industrial Property law occurred April 9, 2010. See Acuerdo Que Por Causas
de Fuerza Mayor Declara Como Inhábil el Día 20 de Marzo de 2012, Diario Oficial de la Federación
[DO], 9 de Abril de 2012 (Mex.).
124. See López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 51 (noting that Mexico has changed its policies in
response to GATT and TRIPS testimonies for globalization of intellectual property); see also Clarkson,
supra note 117, at 224 (discussing Mexico’s changes to its laws in response to GATT). But see WTO
Secretariat, Mexico Trade Policy Review, WT/TPR/S/29 (1997) (stating that Mexico enacted the new
legislation to comply with its obligations under the NAFTA).
125. See Chiang-feng Lin, Investment in Mexico: A Springboard Toward the NAFTA Market–
An Asian Perspective, 22 N.C.J. INT’L L. & COM. REG. 73, 101–02 (1996-97) (explaining that the law
is both modern and designed to be similar to the systems of more industrialized nations); see also
López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 61–62 (suggesting that the new legislation was aimed at facilitating
trade relations with other countries). See generally Frank J. Garcia, Protection of Intellectual Property
Rights in the North American Free Trade Agreement: A Successful Case of Regional Trade Regulation,
8 AM. U. J. INT’L L. & POL’Y 817, 821 (1993) (implying that the new legislation was driven by
Mexico’s desire to be a part of the NAFTA).
126. See Decreto Por El Que Se Crea el Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial [Decree
by Which the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property is Created], Diario Oficial de la Federación
[DO], 10 de Diciembre de 1993 (Mex.) (creating the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property); Organic
Statute of the Mexican Institute for Industrial Property, art. 1, http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp
?file_id=200310; Bill F. Kryzda & Shaun F. Downey, Overview of Recent Changes in Mexican
Industrial Property Law and the Enforcement of Rights by the Relevant Government Authorities, 21
CAN.-U.S. L.J. 99, 101 (1995) (commenting on the creation of the Mexican Institute of Industrial
Property following the signing of NAFTA); see also David Fernández-Alvarez, The IP and Patent
Information Scene in Mexico, 35 WORLD PAT. INFO. 31, 31 (2013) (explaining the role and impact of
the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 68–69 (discussing the
creation, structure, and function of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property).
127. See Stone & Gonzalez, supra note 117, at 57 (explaining that NAFTA has been

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NAFTA’s self-implementing provisions could have been adopted, the
applicable legislation was amended, creating a more legitimate climate.128 In
general, and fortunately for Mexico, symmetry existed between Chapter XVII
of NAFTA and the industrial property legislation of 1991.129 Commentators at
the time proposed that the amended legislation was a response to the presumed
compromise in the Agreement, effective October 1, 1994, and known as the
Industrial Property Law.130
Different reasons justified the cited legislative reforms and additions. The
most noted include: the need to grant autonomy to the Mexican Institute for
Industrial Protection, such as the administrative power to apply the law in these
matters;131 incorporation into the text of all treaties executed by Mexico;132
incorporated into the Mexican legal system pursuant to article 133 of the Mexican Constitution); see
also Elvia Arcelia Quintana Adriano, The North American Free Trade Agreement and Its Impact on
the Micro-, Small- and Medium-Sized Mexican Industries, 39 ST. LOUIS U. L.J. 967, 967 (1994-95)
(noting that NAFTA has acquired National Law status under article 133 of the Mexican Constitution).
See generally McHugh, supra note 115 (stating that article 133 of the Mexican Constitution is the
supreme law of Mexico).
128. See Clarkson, supra note 117, at 227 (discussing Mexico’s efforts to bring its intellectual
property laws within NAFTA); Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101 (explaining that Mexico
amended its industrial property legislation because it is a signatory of the NAFTA). See generally
Leonides Ortiz Sanchez, Mexico y La Propiedad Intelectual, MOVIMIENTO CIUDADANO, at 35,
http://www.convergenciamexico.org.mx/propinte.pdf (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (mentioning that
Mexico had amended some of its legislation because of its participation in the NAFTA).
129. See Clarkson, supra note 117, at 219 (pointing out that Mexico was aligned with
provisions of NAFTA); Rafael V. Baca, Compulsory Patent Licensing in Mexico in the 1990s: The
Aftermath of NAFTA and the 1991 Industrial Property Law, 8 TRANSNAT’L LAW. 33, 45–48 (1995)
(likening article 17 of the NAFTA to Mexico’s Industrial Property Law); see also Stephen Zamora,
NAFTA and the Harmonization of Domestic Legal Systems: The Side Effects of Free Trade, 12 ARIZ.
J. INT’L & COMP. L. 401, 409 (1995) (observing that Mexico would have little trouble complying with
article 17 of the NAFTA because of its substantive overlap with Mexico’s own Industrial Property
Law).
130. See Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101 (admitting that the Industrial Property Law
was amended in 1994 as a result of Mexico’s signing of the NAFTA). See generally George Y.
Gonzalez, Symposium, An Analysis of the Legal Implications of the Intellectual Property Provisions
of the North American Free Trade Agreement, 34 HARV. INT’L L.J. 305, 315 (1993) (indicating that
Mexico’s Industrial Property Law was a precondition to the United States signing the NAFTA); Garcia,
supra note 125, at 825 (suggesting that the Industrial Property Law was developed prior to NAFTA
negotiations).
131. See generally Fernández-Alvarez, supra note 126, at 31 (describing the Mexican Institute
of Industrial Property roles as being a “key factor in the modernization of IP issues in Mexico”); Ortiz
Sanchez, supra note 128, at 35 (alluding to Mexico’s creation of intellectual property institutions as a
necessary response to NAFTA); L. Janá Sigars, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Conference on Legal
Aspects of Doing Business in Latin America: Developing Strategies, Alliances, and Markets, 10 FLA.
J. INT’L L. 1, 49 (1995-96) (indicating that the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property was created
following Mexico’s signing of the NAFTA).
132. See Martín Michaus Romero, El Fortalecimiento de los Derechos En Propiedad
Intelectual En Mexico, 2 REVISTA JURÍDICA DE UNIVERSIDAD CATÓLICA DE SANTIAGO DE
GUAYAQUIL 79, 79 (2013) (explaining that Mexico’s industrial property law came about as a result of

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obligatory guidelines for institutions that failed to achieve their purpose within
three years;133 and substantive and procedural guidelines sensitive to Mexico’s
competitiveness vis-à-vis other countries, but principally with the United
States.134 The trends toward the increasing insistence on efficiency and
flexibility demanded by modern entrepreneurs attempting to adapt to this new
economic environment has caused the Industrial Property Law to be revised in
1997 and 1999, and to conserve or increase the levels of required legal
security.135
The Industrial Property Law was substantially reformed in 1999 to provide
for adequate enforcement of intellectual property rights.136 The central theme
of this reform labeled “criminal” in industrial property matters the willful
counterfeiting of trademarks.137 The corresponding provisions of NAFTA and
numerous agreements, including NAFTA). See generally Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101–
02 (giving a general rundown of the various amendments made to the former Industrial Property Law);
Margaret A. Boulware, Jeffrey A. Pyle & Frank C. Turner, Symposium, An Overview of Intellectual
Property Rights Abroad, 16 HOUS. J. INT’L L. 441, 499–500 (1993-94) (suggesting broader
justifications for the legislative reforms).
133. But see Boulware, Pyle & Turner, supra note 132, at 499–500 (offering other more general
reasons for the changes in the Industrial Property Law). See generally Garcia, supra note 125, at 833–
34 (mentioning the three-year period within which Mexico must implement some of its reforms);
Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101–02 (describing the various reforms made with respect to
the different types of industrial property).
134. See SIDNEY WEINTRAUB, UNEQUAL PARTNERS: THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO 2–6
(John Charles Chasteen & Catherine M. Conaghan eds., 2010) (discussing the competitive and
asymmetrical relationship between the United States and Mexico); JORGE I. DOMÍNGUEZ & RAFAEL
FERNÁNDEZ DE CASTRO, UNITED STATES AND MEXICO: BETWEEN PARTNERSHIP AND CONFLICT 98–
99 (noting the competitive nature of the relationship between the United States and Mexico); Sanford
E. Gaines, Rethinking Environmental Protection, Competitiveness, and International Trade, 1997 U.
CHI. LEGAL F. 231, 263 (1997) (making reference to the competitiveness that exists between the United
States and Mexico); see also George L. Priest, Lawyers, Liability, and Law Reform: Effects on
American Economic Growth and Trade Competitiveness, 71 DENV. U. L. REV. 115,132–33 (1993)
(discussing the effects that competitiveness can have on national wealth and on the citizens of both the
United States and Mexico). See generally Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101 (explaining the
changes to the legislation and the need for such changes); Villarreal, supra note 4, at 17 (noting the
disparity between Mexico and the United States).
135. See Michaus Romero, supra note 132, at 147 (noting that after the Industrial Property Law
was enacted in 1991, Mexico continued its development to conform with the requirements of NAFTA);
Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 101 (discussing how the Industrial Property Law was amended
to conform with NAFTA).
136. See Que Es El IMPI?, SE, http://www.impi.gob.mx/wb/IMPI/que_es_el_impi_ (last
visited Apr. 28, 2013) (noting that the industrial property law was significantly amended in 1999 to
improve intellectual property protection); Keshia B. Haskins, Special 301 in China and Mexico: A
Policy Which Fails to Consider How Politics, Economics, and Culture Affect Legal Change Under
Civil Law Systems of Developing Countries, 9 FORDHAM INTELL. PROP. MEDIA & ENT. L.J. 1125,
1143 (1999) (noting that since 1990 Mexico had made significant improvements regarding the
protection of intellectual property). See generally Brown & Manolakas, supra note 97, at 73–74
(recalling that Mexico has tried to improve its protection of intellectual property before).
137. See WIPO, Industrial Property Law (as last amended by the Decree of May 17, 1999),

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TRIPS obligate the parties to classify criminal counterfeiting of trademarks as
fraud on a commercial level.138 The “criminal” reform of 1999 substituted the
expression “on a commercial level” for “with the purpose of commercial
speculation.”139 This was done to facilitate the prosecution of trademark
counterfeiting because quantity or volume of counterfeited goods does not
determine whether to criminally prosecute the counterfeiter. Instead, under the
1999 reform, this decision is based on whether the counterfeiting is carried out
“with a purpose of commercial speculation,” independently of the quantities of
counterfeit goods detected.140 This is relevant to those cases in which the
detected counterfeit goods do not clearly establish production “on a commercial
scale.” If trademark counterfeiting is performed with commercial speculation,
presumptive evidence will then play an important role.141 The Mexican
criminal reform offers more generous terms for the registered trademark owner
than those provided by NAFTA or GATT.142 In the same “criminal” reform
(art.223) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/details.jsp?id=3077 (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (detailing
the text of the “criminal” reform, in article 223); Michaus Romero, supra note 132, at 99 (explaining
that under the industrial property law reform, violations are labeled as criminal); see also Cooper, supra
note 97, at 173 (noting that NAFTA criminalizes willful trademark counterfeiting); Tait R. Swanson,
Comment, Combating Gray Market Goods in a Global Market: Comparative Analysis of Intellectual
Property Laws and Recommended Strategies, 22 HOUS. J. INT’L L. 327, 351 (2000) (briefly stating
that the enforcement of intellectual property laws is achieved through both administrative and criminal
sanctions); cf. Lackert, supra note 51, at 162 (explaining why the United States has criminalized willful
trademark counterfeiting). See generally J. Janewa Oseitutu, Value Divergence in Global Intellectual
Property Law, 87 IND. L.J. 1639, 1672–73 n.200 (2012) (discussing the TRIPS requirement that willful
infringement shall be criminalized)
138. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1717(1).
139. See Industrial Property Law, supra note 137, at art. 223 (which states in pertinent part that
“[t]o falsify, in a willful manner and with the purpose of commercial speculation, trademarks protected
by this law.”)
140. See id. See generally Natalie P. Stoianoff, The Influence of the WTO over China’s
Intellectual Property Regime, 34 SYDNEY L. REV. 65, 80 (2012) (discussing the characterization of
willful trademark infringement as criminal); Miriam Bitton, Rethinking the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement’s Criminal Copyright Enforcement Measures, 102 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 67, 69–70
(2012) (emphasizing the importance of the commercial nature of trademark infringement in defining
its criminality); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 82 (characterizing trademark infringement done on
a commercial scale as felonies); Kryzda & Downey, supra note 126, at 107 (identifying counterfeiting
on a commercial scale as a crime under the new Industrial Property Law).
141. See generally Gonzalez, supra note 130, at 331–32 (discussing how presumptive consent
plays into the determination of trademark infringement); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 82
(establishing commerciality as an element of trademark counterfeiting); J.H. Reichman,
Comment, Enforcing the Enforcement Procedures ofthe TRIPS Agreement, 37 VA. J. INT’L L. 335,
342–43 (1997) (noting the commercial requirement of trademark counterfeiting).
142. See generally Jeffrey M. Samuels & Linda B. Samuels, The Changing Landscape of
International Trademark Law, 27 GW J. INT’L L. & ECON. 433, 435–37 (1994) (offering a discussion
of the various protections afforded by the NAFTA and the GATT Agreement on TRIPS); Garcia, supra
note 125, at 833 (indicating that the NAFTA imposes only a basic obligation of protection and
enforcement); López-Velarde, supra note 78, at 69–71 (describing some of the trademark protections

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other changes to the Industrial Property Law are considered, including the
increase in prison sentences and fines for willful trademark counterfeiting,143
and the addition of a new article specifically drafted to punish peddlers of goods
that display counterfeit trademarks protected by law.144 It should be noted that
the Industrial Property Law of Mexico contains an entire chapter on offenses
that violate property rights, which are protected by the Law mentioned above.
Particularly, Article 223, paragraph II, states that fraudulent counterfeiting with
the purpose of commercial speculation on protected trademarks is an offense
protected by this Act. In addition, subsection III of Article 223 states it is a
crime to
[p]roduce, store, transport, introduce to the country, distribute or sell,
in a willful and with the purpose of commercial speculation, items
bearing counterfeit marks protected by this Act. It also makes it a crime
to knowingly provide or supply raw materials for the production of
items bearing counterfeit marks protected by this Act.145
A. Trademarks on the Internet
NAFTA does not address the use of trademarks on the Internet. This
omission results from the fact that when the Agreement was negotiated the
technological and commercial development of the Internet was not as
significant as it currently is. One of the recurring problems with major
commercial impact in the new era of the Internet is the use of trademarks as
domain names. A domain name is the address of a site on the Internet that
facilitates Internet connections and which, since they are easy to register,
identify, and utilize, have become on numerous occasions, commercial
identifications that substitute for the trademark itself.146 Many businesses
provided by Mexican law).
143. See Michaus Romero, supra note 132, at 99 (stating that penalties under the industrial
property law reform have been increased); cf. Angela Mia Beam, Comment, Piracy of American
Intellectual Property in China, 4 J. INT’L L. & PRAC. 335, 343 (1995) (discussing the criminal penalties
attached to crimes regarding developing industrial property in China).
144. See Ley de la Propiedad Industrial – Ultima Reforma en Abril 9, 2012, art. 22323 (1991),
available at http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/50.pdf (enhancing criminal penalties for
those selling goods in violation of the law). See generally Cooper, supra note 97, at 173 (lamenting
the history of weak enforcement of intellectual property rights in Mexico); Michaus Romero, supra
note 132, at 80–82 (discussing the improvements made in Mexican intellectual property law and
predicting policy changes in this area for the future).
145. See Ley de la Propiedad Industrial, supra note 144.
146. See Internet Domain Names, 29 No. 1 CORP. COUNS. QUARTERLY ART 4, 38 (2013)
(discussing the function of a domain name, and the link between domain names and trademarks); Jude
A. Thomas, Fifteen Years of Fame: The Declining Relevance of Domain Names in the Enduring
Conflict between Trademark and Free Speech Rights, 11 J. MARSHALL REV. INTELL. PROP. L. 2, 8

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utilize their current trademarks as domain names, attracting potential clients to
their Internet pages.147 The problem that occurs with domain names used on
the Internet is in great part a result of improper “cyber-squatting.”148 “Cyber
squatters” take advantage of the fact that there is no agreement regulating
organizations in charge of registering domain names to conduct preliminary
reviews and attempt to anticipate possible problematic names. Once “cyber
squatters” obtain a domain name, they often auction it to the interested
company at a price well beyond the price that the “cyber squatters” paid for
registration of the domain name.149
NAFTA has allowed its signatories, especially Mexico, to integrate and
compete in the American market. Therefore, more companies around the world
see Mexico as part of the North American market.150 The integration promoted
by NAFTA has formed solid, productive, and efficient chains that bind

(2011-12) (explaining how domain names work and their relation to trademarks); see also
Computeruser.com High-Tech Dictionary, http://www.computeruser.com/resources/dictionary (last
visited Mar. 23, 2013). See generally Gerard N. Magliocca, One and Inseparable: Dilution and
Infringement in Trademark Law, 85 MINN. L. REV. 949, 1024–27 (2000-01) (describing the effect of
the internet on trademark use and name recognition).
147. See Controversias Relativas a Los Nombres de Dominio de Internet: Preguntas y
Respuestas, WIPO.INT, http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/es/studies/publications/domain_names.htm (last
visited Apr. 28, 2013) (providing common questions and answers for domain name and trade mark
registration disputes); see also Marisa D. Faunce & Benjamin B. Reed, What’s in a Name? A Lot:
Trademark and Brand Protection Strategies for Franchisors, 19 BUS. L. TODAY 31, 33 (2009-10)
(identifying the importance of trademark and domain name registration in the computer age). See
generally Jeffrey Selingo, Rule Your Own Realm: The Ultimate E-Mail Address, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 16,
2003, at G7 (examining the value of domain names to businesses).
148. See Jacqueline D. Lipton, Bad Faith in Cyberspace: Grounding Domain Name Theory in
Trademark, Property, and Restitution, 23 HARV. J.L. & TECH. 447, 448 (2009-10) (discussing the
problem of cyber-squatting); see also Thomas, supra note 146, at 2–4 (providing a thorough example
of cyber-squatting and discussing the problems associated with cyber-squatting). See generally
William Glanz, Anti-Abortion Cyber-Squatter Is Found in Contempt of Court, WASH. TIMES, Feb. 5,
2003 (defining cyber-squatting and explaining the act using the example of an anti-abortion cybersquatter).
149. See DAVID KESMODEL, THE DOMAIN GAME: HOW PEOPLE GET RICH FROM INTERNET
DOMAIN NAMES 20 (2008) (recounting the classic manner in which a cyber-squatter makes money);
Lipton, supra note 148, at 447–48 (describing the purpose and practice of cyber-squatting); see also
Marjorie Chertok & Warren E. Agin, Restart.com: Identifying, Securing and Maximizing the
Liquidation of Cyber-Assets in Bankruptcy Proceeding, 8 AM. BANKR. INST. L. REV. 255, 274 (2000)
(examining the importance of domain names to businesses). See generally Jane Fankhanel & Felicia
Gross, Second Circuit Tackles Wide Array of Appeals, NAT’L L.J., Apr. 2, 2001, at B9 (identifying the
practice of cyber-squatting).
150. See Dana Gabriel, Beyond NAFTA: Shaping the Future of North American Integration
within the Global Economy, GLOBAL RESEARCH (Dec. 11, 2012), http://www.globalresearch.ca/
beyond-nafta-shaping-the-future-of-north-american-integration-within-the-global-economy/5315136
(highlighting Mexico’s integration in the North American market thanks to NAFTA); see generally
Cooper, supra note 97, at 171 (noting the changes Mexico has implemented to integrate itself better
with the NAFTA countries).

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producers of the three signatory countries with producers and consumers from
diverse sectors inside and outside of the region.151 Moreover, even though
NAFTA’s provisions pertaining to intellectual property have created the
highest standards for their protection and achievement, which would never have
been negotiated without allowing the signatories to establish more rigorous
standards,152 NAFTA should add concrete provisions protecting trademarks for
domain names with the same protection afforded to other forms of intellectual
property. Considering the informative capacity of the Internet, which has a
global ambit, protection of trademarks as domain names cannot be left to
depend upon provisions of other entities (such as WIPO) if the signatories of
NAFTA hope to receive great benefits. These benefits are obtainable by
providing other interested parties the best possible confidence to promote their
products and services via electronic means.153 Confidence can only be offered
by including in the trademark law, in a clear and specific manner, the necessary
protection to avoid plagiarism through the use of trademarks as domain
names.154
151. See Clarkson, supra note 117, at 29 (discussing the effects of NAFTA on intellectual
property law). But see Tim Weiner, In Corn’s Cradle, U.S. Imports Bury Family Farms, N.Y. TIMES,
Feb. 26, 2002, at A4 (explaining that NAFTA has had a negative impact on small farmers in the
signatory countries). See generally Craig L. Jackson, The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and
Legal Harmonization, ASIL INSIGHTS, June 1996 (examining the effect of NAFTA on economic
integration in North America).
152. See Fran Smallson, NAFTA’s Intellectual Property Provisions, DR. DOBB’S, (Nov. 1,
1994), http://www.drdobbs.com/naftas-intellectual-property-provisions/184409468 (noting that
NAFTA only establishes minimum standards for intellectual property protection); see also Neil Jetter,
Comment, NAFTA: The Best Friend of an Intellectual Property Right Holder Can Become Better, 9
FLA. J. INT’L L. 331, 333 (1994) (recognizing that signatories are permitted to establish more stringent
intellectual property protections); James A.R. Nafziger, NAFTA’s Regime for Intellectual Property:
In the Mainstream of Public International Law, 19 HOUS. J. INT’L L. 807, 816 (1997) (acknowledging
that NAFTA signatories have agreed only to implement and enforce basic intellectual property
protections).
153. See Faunce & Reed, supra note 147, at 33 (relating the importance of protecting domain
names); Anne H. Chasser, Developments at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 19 TEMP.
ENVTL. L. & TECH. J. 27, 28 (2000) (implying that recent developments have improved the confidence
of people dealing with the office). See generally Internet Domain Names, supra note 146 (noting that
some companies have embedded a competitor’s trademarks within the meta tags of their company’s
website with the intention of getting traffic intended for the competitor).
154. See United States Patent and Trademark Office Examination Guide No. 2-99, Marks
Composed, In Whole or in Part, of Domain Names, available at http://ceaseanddesisttrademark.com/
TrademarkLitigationStudy.pdf (detailing the procedures for accepting a domain name as domain
names); Anna Maria Ceballos Aristizábal, El Desafío de la Propiedad Industrial Frente a las Nuevas
Tecnologías Informáticas: El Sistema de Marcas Frente a los Nombres de Dominio 48–49,
http://repository.eafit.edu.co/bitstream/10784/445/1/AnaMaria_
UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT (2007),
CeballosAristizabal_2007.pdf (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (highlighting the importance of coherent
legislation regarding trademarks and domain names). See generally Rebecca W. Gole, Playing the
Name Game: A Glimpse at the Future of the Internet Domain Name System, 51 FED COMM. L.J. 403,
409–13 (1998-99) (discussing the current conflicts between trademark law and domain names).

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Reference should also be made to the Collective Recommendation
Regarding Provisions for the Protection of Trademarks and other Rights of
Industrial Property for Signs on the Internet, adopted by the Paris Union
Assembly for the Protection of Industrial Property and the General Assembly
of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) during the thirty-sixth
Reunion of the Assemblies of Member States of the WIPO on September 24th
to October 3rd, 2001. This Recommendation creates a new legal framework for
trademark owners wishing to use their trademarks on the Internet and
participate in the evolution of electronic commerce.155 It provides that the use
of a distinctive sign on the Internet contributes to the acquisition, maintenance
or infraction of a trademark.156 Unfair competition is handled with the same
corresponding corrective measures. In this manner the OMPI collaborates in
the development of the international intellectual property law.157 The
Recommendation does not pretend to give an exhaustive definition of the term
“Internet,” but rather defines “Internet” as “an interactive medium for
communication which contains information that is simultaneously and
immediately accessible irrespective of territorial location to members of the
public from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.”158 Taking into
155. See LOUIS ALTMAN & MALLA POLLACK, CALLMANN ON UNFAIR COMP., TR. & MONO.
§ 22:36 (4th ed. 2013) (pointing out that more and more business are seeking an internet presence).
See generally Kitsuron Sangsuvan, Separation of Powers in Intellectual Property Rights: Balancing
Global Intellectual Property Rights or Monopoly Power in the Twenty-First Century by Competition
Law, 26 N.Y. INT’L L. REV. 1, 4–6 (2013) (discussing the agreements that resulted after the Uruguay
negotiations); Joseph Straus, A Marriage of Convenience: World Economy and Intellectual Property
from 1990 to 2012, 40 AIPLA Q.J. 633, 639 (2012) (describing the function of the Paris Union
Assembly and WIPO).
156. See Angela L. Patterson, Comment, With Liberty and Domain Names for All:
Restructuring Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies, 40 SAN DIEGO L. REV. 375, 392–93 (stating
that the majority of courts tend to stretch the laws to favor trademark users); David Romero, A
Worldwide Problem: Domain Names Disputes in Cyberspace Who is in Control?, 9 CURRENTS: INT’L
TRADE L.J. 69, 69 (2000) (stating that cases filed in the United States generally result in more favorable
outcomes for the trademark owner). See generally Susan Thomas Johnson, Internet Domain Name
and Trademark Disputes: Shifting Paradigms in Intellectual Property, 43 ARIZ. L. REV. 465, 470
(discussing the conflict between trademark laws and domain names on the Internet).
157. See WIPO, Proposed Joint Recommendations Concerning Provisions on the Protection of
Marks, and Other Rights in Signs, on the Internet, Doc. A/36/8 (June 18, 2001) (introducing a legal
paradigm to resolve trademark disputes involving the use of domain names on the Internet); see also
Susan Johnson, supra note 156, at 484–85 (examining a variety of solutions to intellectual property
disputes as a result of the evolution of the Internet, including an overview of the WIPO
recommendations). See generally Graeme B. Dinwoodie, The Architecture of the International
Intellectual Property System, 77 CHI.-KENT. L. REV. 993, 1000 (2002) (discussing the role of the courts
in developing the structure of the international intellectual property system, citing the
recommendations of the WIPO).
158. See Joint Recommendation related to the Provisions on the Protection of Trademarks and
other Rights of Industrial Property on Signs in the Internet, WTO, 2001, art. 1; WIPO, Proposed Joint
Recommendations Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Marks, and Other Rights in Sign on the

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consideration the rate of technological development in this modern medium of
communication, a definition of the term “Internet” may quickly become
obsolete.
The provisions of this Recommendation do not constitute intellectual
property norms for the Internet but rather serve as a framework to guide
legislative bodies of each country or regional trading organizations regarding
legal problems arising from use on the Internet.159
Perhaps the area in which the development of the Internet has, expectedly,
had the biggest impact is in the registration and maintenance of trademarks.160
Although, as previously mentioned, NAFTA does not address Internet issues
when dealing with trademarks, all three NAFTA countries have developed
systems that allow for registrations and maintenance of a trademark. The
United States, through its Patent and Trademarks Office, has implemented the
Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS)161, which allows an
applicant to fill out and submit a trademark application online, and to submit
payment for that application.162 TEAS can also be used to maintain the
trademark after the application has been submitted and approved.163 The
Canadian Intellectual Property Office provides a similar system by which an
applicant can prepare, submit, pay for, and maintain a trademark.164 The
Internet, supra note 157 (stating the WIPO’s definition of the Internet); P. Greg Gulick, E-Health and
the Future of Medicine: The Economic, Legal, Regulatory, Cultural, and Organizational Obstacles
Facing Telemedicine and Cybermedicine Programs, 12 ALB. L.J. SCI. & TECH. 315, 353–54 (200102) (indicating the United States Supreme Court’s definition of the Internet). See generally David L.
Hayes, Advanced Copyright Issues on the Internet, 7 TEX. INTELL. PROP. L.J. 1, 102 (1998-99)
(discussing the worldwide need for revision of definition of copyright right on the Internet for
trademark purposes).
159. See WIPO, About WIPO: What is WIPO? (stating the mission and intentions of the WIPO),
available at http://www.wipo.org/about-wipo/en/index.html?wipo_content_frame=/about-wipo/en/
dgo/pub487.htm (last visited Mar. 24, 2013). See generally Marney L. Cheek, The Limits of Informal
Regulatory Cooperation in International Affairs: A Review of the Global Intellectual Property Regime,
33 GEO. WASH. INT’L L. REV. 277, 310–12 (2000-01) (examining the role of the WIPO in the
regulation of intellectual property rights).
160. See generally Theresa Nguyen, A Guide to E-Registration of a Mark Already in Use, 19 J.
CONTEMP. LEGAL ISSUES 110 (2010) (detailing the steps to file a U.S. trademark application online);
Fernández-Alvarez, supra note 126, at 33–36 (discussing the technical use of the internet by Mexico
in the area of Intellectual Property applications).
161. See Trademark/Servicemark Application System, USPTO.GOV, http://www.uspto.gov/
teas/teasplus.htm (last visited May 24, 2013).
162. See id.
163. See Frequently Asked Questions About Trademarks, USPTO.GOV, http://www.uspto.gov/
faq/trademarks.jsp#_Toc275426691 (last visited May 24, 2013) (making clear that “TEAS can also be
used to file other documents including a response to an examining attorney’s Office action, a change
of address, an allegation of use, and post registration maintenance documents.”).
164. See Filing a Trade-Mark Application, CANADIAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE,
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr01369.html (last visited May 24,

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Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) has also implemented a system
to submit and maintain a trademark application.165 Through the “Portal de
Pagos y Servicios Electrónicos (PASE)” [Payment and Electronic Services
Portal], an applicant can prepare, pay for, and submit an application for a
trademark.166 Although the U.S. and Canada provide useful information on
how to register a trademark, Mexico has published a step-by-step user guide on
how to prepare and submit a trademark application.167 It should be noted that
all three systems also maintain a database that allows the applicant to search
the trademark before he or she submits the application.168
Taking into consideration that the main characteristic of the Internet is its
“worldwide character,” the issue of national or regional laws will be tested, and
certain revisions in the legislation of countries or regions with the intent of
granting an adequate level of protection to Internet trademarks and other rights
over distinct signs will be necessary.169 Such is the case with member states of
NAFTA, which are the focus of this study, amending their laws to address
Internet trademarks matters.170

2013).
165. See Portal de Pagos y Servicios Electrónicos del IMPI, SECRETARIA DE ECONOMIA IMPI, http://eservicios.impi.gob.mx (last visited May 24, 2013).
166. See id.
167. See Guia del Usuario – Signos Distintivos [User’s Guide – Distinctive Signs],
SECRETARIA DE ECONOMIA – IMPI, http://www.impi.gob.mx/work/sites/IMPI/resources/Local
Content/880/7/GUSD_2012.pdf (last visited May 24, 2013) (providing step-by-step instructions on
how to submit a Mexican trademark application through PASE).
168. See Trademark Electronic Search System, USPTO.GOV, http://www.uspto.gov/
trademarks/index.jsp (last visited May 24, 2013) (allowing the search of registered trademarks); Filing
a Trade-Mark Application, supra note 164; SIGA – eGaceta, SECRETARIA DE ECONOMIA – IMPI,
http://siga.impi.gob.mx/ (last visited May 24, 2013) (providing a means to conduct a search of
trademark applications).
169. See Patterson, supra note 156, at 422 (discussing registration of domain names and the
fact that trademark owners are favored over non-trademark owners and that a new solution to protect
Internet users is necessary); Kenneth L. Port, Intellectual Property in an Information Economy:
Trademark Monopolies in the Blue Nowhere, 28 WM. MITCHELL L. REV. 1091, 1098–99 (2002)
(discussing international domain name dispute resolution and the extent to which it affects trademarks).
170. See Legal and Technical Implications of Canadian Adherence to the Madrid Protocol,
CANADIAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE (Jan. 2012) http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/
cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr00327.html#hid314232934 (last visited Apr. 28, 2013) (asserting
that Canada Trademark law is in accordance with NAFTA); Effects of GATT and NAFTA on PTO
Practice, USPTO.GOV, http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/doc/uruguay/URPAPER.html (last
visited Apr. 28, 2013) (noting that significant changes will be required in U.S. intellectual property
law in order to meet the requirements of NAFTA); Ortiz Sanchez, supra note 128, at 35 (discussing
that Mexico has and continues to updates its intellectual property laws in order to comply with the
provisions found in the NAFTA agreement).

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V. MEXICO IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA OF TRADEMARK LAW
This section provides a general framework of the internationalization of
Mexico’s Intellectual Property protections, as well as a discussion of Mexico’s
Intellectual Property agreements involving trademarks. Mexico has pursued an
aggressive strategy of bilateral and regional agreements related to intellectual
property protection.171 It is evident that among countries, economic
improvement is generally the main motivation to form Free Trade Agreements
(FTA), and Mexico’s case is no different.172 However, it seems that Mexico’s
strategy of bilateral agreements is also intended to decrease its reliance on the
United States as a trading partner.173 Whatever the reason however, Mexico is
a party to a large number of treaties that involve IP rights.174 Incidentally,
Mexico’s trading deficit with the United States will be discussed infra in more
detail.
A. Mexico’s Treaties Involving Trademarks
Beginning with the Paris Convention of 1883 “which constitutes, without a
doubt, the most purified corpus of supranational norms in the ambit of industrial
property”,175 Mexico has executed the following international trademark

171. See Okediji, supra note 120, at 128–29, (2004) (pointing out that Mexico “ha[s] pursued
an ongoing explicit strategy of bilateral and regional trade agreements that incorporate substantive
regimes of intellectual property protection”); Mexico Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013, supra note
18, at 6 (reporting that Mexico has pursued an ambitious policy of trade liberalization, which has
culminated in various Free Trade Agreements, including NAFTA); Villarreal, supra note 8, at
Summary (stating that “Mexico has had a growing commitment to trade integration and liberalization
through the formation of free trade agreements (FTAs) since the 1990s and its trade policy is among
the most open in the world”). Interestingly, some scholars see the United States pursuit of Trade
Agreements as a negative.
172. See id. “[One of] Mexico’s primary motivations for its unilateral trade liberalization efforts
of the late 1980s and early 1990s was to improve economic conditions in the country, which
policymakers hoped would lead to greater investor confidence, attract more foreign investment,” and
create jobs. Id.
173. See Villarreal, supra note 8, at 2 (noting that “Mexico has other motivations for continuing
trade liberalization with other countries, such as . . . decreasing its reliance on the United States as an
export market”); Dave Graham, Mexico’s Pena Nieto Backs Stronger Trade Ties With Asia, REUTERS,
Jul. 23, 2012, http://mobile.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSBRE86M0T220120723 (reporting
that then President-elect Enrique Pena stated during an interview that “Mexico is obliged to look for
other markets to strengthen growth . . . Asia, it’s a region with a lot of consumers and where the
spending power of the market has grown and improved. This is an opportunity for the Mexican
presence.”); Jean Chua, Mexico to Reduce Reliance on U.S.: President Calderon, CNBC (Sep. 11,
2012), http://www.cnbc.com/id/48982184 (reporting that now-former president Felipe Calderon,
during a visit to Singapore, stated that “Mexico is looking for new markets and we’re trying to reduce
our dependency on the United States”).
174. See Mexico, WIPO RESOURCES, http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=MX#
a6 (last visited Mar. 12, 2013) (listing the IP related treaties to which Mexico is a party).
175. See FERNÁNDEZ-NÓVOA, supra note 32, at 580.

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treaties:
1. Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
(March 20, 1883).176
2. Nice Agreement for International Classification of Products
and Services for the Registration of Trademarks (June 15,
1967).177
3. Convention Establishing the World Organization of
Intellectual Property (July 14, 1967; Stockholm,
Switzerland).178
4. Vienna Accord for International Classification of the
Figurative Trademark (June 12, 1973).179
5. Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol
(September 26, 1981).180
6. North American Free Trade Agreement (January 1, 1994).181
7. World Trade Organization (April 15, 1994; Marrakech,
Morocco).182
8. Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
This agreement originated from GATT and is annex 1C of the
WTO Agreement (January 1, 1995), date in which WTO was
established, as a consequence of the signing of its founding

176. See Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, supra note 60 (enabling
protection for patents and trademarks by setting minimum standards among the member countries for
industrial property protection).
177. See Nice Agreement for International Classification of Products and Services for the
Registration of Trademarks, June 15, 1967, T.I.A.S. No. 7419, 828 U.N.T.S. 191 (establishing a
common classification of goods and services, divided into several specific classes, to better enable the
registration of marks among the countries party to the agreement).
178. See Convention Establishing the World Organization of Intellectual Property, July 14,
1967, 21 U.S.T. 1749, 6 I.L.M. 782 (promoting the protection of intellectual property through the
development of measures to facilitate and synchronize legislation on this subject through all nations).
179. See Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative
Elements of Marks, June 12, 1973, available at http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/classification/vienna/
(establishing a classification system for designs and figurative elements among member countries,
which do not all have to adopt these classes, but must include the classes within the agreement when
marks are registered).
180. See Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol, Sep. 26, 1981, available at
http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/nairobi/trtdocs_wo018.html (providing for the protection of the
Olympic symbol against use for commercial purposes without the authorization of the International
Olympic Committee).
181. See NAFTA, supra note 21 (incorporating more items, such as trade secret rights and
industrial design rights in the definition of intellectual property).
182. See Marrakech Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Apr. 15, 1994, 33
I.L.M. 1143 (1994) (establishing protection for trademarks among members through agreements such
as Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).

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agreement (April 15, 1994; Marrakech, Morocco).183
9. Protocol of 1989 re Madrid Agreement of 1891.184
Mexico has not executed the following international trademark treaties:
1. Madrid Agreement for International Registration of
Trademarks (April 14, 1891).185
2. Agreement of Trademark Rights (October 27, 1994; Geneva,
Switzerland).186
3. Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (March 27,
2006).187
B. Future of NAFTA
1. Trade Balance
According to the United States Census Bureau, Canada is the United States’
largest trading partner, accounting for 16.2% of the U.S. total trade, as of
183. See Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Apr. 15, 1994,
Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1C, 33 I.L.M. 81 (1994)
(establishing standards for intellectual property among WTO members to create an international
system in this area).
184. See Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration
of Marks, June 27, 1989, 8 World Intellectual Property Organization, Industrial Property Law and
Treaties Text 3-007, at 1 (allowing non-member countries of the Madrid Agreement to implement the
international registration system, without fully agreeing to all terms of the Madrid Agreement, and
gain protection among the member countries for registrants within their nation). See also Decreto
Promulgatorio del Protocolo Concerniente al Arreglo de Madrid Relativo al RegistroInternacional de
Marcas [Decree Promulgating the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the
International Registration of Marks], Diario Oficial de la Federación [DO], 12 de Febrero de 2013
(Mex.) (joining Mexico to the Madrid Protocol of 1989). See generally Madrid Agreement Concerning
the International Registration of Marks, Apr. 14, 1891, 828 U.N.T.S. 389 (entered into force Jan. 1,
1892) (implementing an international system of registration which gives registrants in one member
country protections for their trademark in the other member countries).
It should be noted that the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol are two different treaties.
A country can be a party to either or both treaties. Although both treaties are administered by the
International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), located in Geneva,
Switzerland, there are different forms, procedures of registration and fees. Trademarks registered in a
member country of the Agreement can only be protected in other countries of the Agreement. The
same applies to the Protocol. A trademark in a country which is a member of the Agreement and the
Protocol can be protected in countries of both the Agreement and of the Protocol.
185. See Madrid Agreement, supra note 184.
186. See Trademark Law Treaty, Oct. 27, 1994, available at http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/
ip/tlt/ (applying to the registration of visible marks that relate to goods and services).
187. See Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, (Mar. 27, 2006), available at
http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/singapore (building on the Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 and
increasing the scope of application, addressing new developments in the field of communication
technology).

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2011.188 China sits in second place with 13.6% of the United States total
trade.189 Mexico is third, with 12.5% of the U.S. total trade.190 Of all the goods
exported by the United States, 19% go to Canada, 13% to Mexico, and 7% to
China.191 When it comes to imports, 18.1% come from China, 14.3% from
Canada, and only 11.9% from Mexico.192 Therefore, it is clear that despite
NAFTA, the United States buys goods from China more than any other country,
even its NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada.
There is no question that the United States is, by far, Mexico’s most
significant trading partner.193 As of 2012, 77.1% of Mexican exports went to
the United States,194 and 50.5% of its imports came from the same.195 Second
to the United States, China accounted for 14.4% of Mexican imports, far above
the 2.63% that went to Mexico from Canada.196 This means that Mexico buys
far more from China than from Canada, its NAFTA partner. But Mexico
exports only 1.5% of its goods to China, which results in a large trade deficit
for Mexico with China.197
What the current trade balance shows is that China is a hugely significant
trading partner to both the United States and Mexico, despite the fact that
neither country has a FTA with China. Despite calls for the United States to
open FTA negotiations with China,198 no negotiations are in progress. Mexico,
on the other hand, although not officially negotiating a FTA with China, has

188. See Foreign Trade: Top Trading Partners–December 2011, UNITED STATES CENSUS
BUREAU, http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/top/top1112yr.html (last visited
Mar. 14, 2013) (listing the U.S. top trading partners).
189. See id.
190. See id.
191. See id.
192. See id.
193. See The World Factbook: Mexico, CIA.gov, (Mar. 15, 2013), available at
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mx.html (noting that the U.S. is
Mexico’s biggest trade partner).
194. See Informacion Estadistica y Arancelaria, Secretaria de Economia: Importaciones y
Exportaciones por Pais de 1993 a 2012 – Exportaciones, http://www.economia.gob.mx/files/
comunidad_negocios/comercio_exterior/informacion_estadistica/Acum-Exporta.pdf (last visited Mar.
17, 2013) (listing Mexico’s exports by country).
195. See Informacion Estadistica y Arancelaria, Secretaria de Economia: Importaciones y
Exportaciones por Pais de 1993 a 2012 – Importaciones, http://www.economia.gob.mx/files/
comunidad_negocios/comercio_exterior/informacion_estadistica/Acum-Importa.pdf (last visited Mar.
17, 2013) (listing Mexico’s imports by country).
196. See id.
197. See Exportaciones, supra, note 194.
198. See Maurice R. Greenberg, Time for a China-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, WALL ST. J.,
(Jan. 9, 2012), available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020347100457714312157
7631562.html (calling for the United States to open negotiations with China for free trade agreement,
despite probable long and protracted negotiations).

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received a proposed FTA from China.199
A FTA with China would be significant, but of particular interest to this
article is the question of whether such a FTA would contain trademark
provisions. The issue of a FTA with China is also significant when one
considers the fact that although China is a member to several treaties relating
to trademark protection,200 scholars have noted that China does not have a
strong record of trademark protection.201
2. FTAA
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) (Spanish: Área de Libre
Comercio de las Américas (ALCA)), is a proposed agreement similar to, and in
fact an extension of, NAFTA.202 The FTAA is intended to eliminate or reduce
the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas.203 The United States,
Canada and Mexico are all part of the FTAA negotiations.204 During initial
199. See Mexico: China Proposes FTA with Mexico, Library of Congress, (Jan. 27, 2012),
available at http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205402963_text (pointing out that
“China is seeking a free trade agreement with Mexico in order to strengthen relations between the two
nations”).
200. See China Intellectual Property Rights: Trademark, EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES,
http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/iprtrade.html (last visited Mar. 23, 2013) (noting that China has
ratified the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) since 2001,
the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works since 1992, the Madrid
Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks since 1989, the Paris Convention for
the Protection of Industrial Property since 1985, and the Convention Establishing the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1980).
201. See Anne M. Wall, Intellectual Property Protection in China: Enforcing Trademark
Rights, 17 MARQ. SPORTS L. REV. 341, 342 (2006-07) (commenting that “China is considered by many
to be the single largest producer of pirated and counterfeit goods in the world”); Robert H. Hu,
International Legal Protection of Trademarks in China, 13 MARQ. INTELL. PROP. L. REV. 69, 74
(2009) (noting that many Western governments charge China of with doing a poor job protecting
intellectual property, especially foreign intellectual property).
202. See Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA, FTAA-ALCA.ORG, http://www.ftaaalca.org/View_e.asp(last visited Mar. 14, 2013).
Interestingly, the initial proposal was that “the FTAA be called simply ‘AFTA’ by dropping the
‘North’ from the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. This was rejected when Brazil
pointed out that in Portuguese ‘afta’ was slang for a certain variety of open mouth sores.” See Frank
J. Garcia, NAFTA and the Creation of the FTAA: A Critique of Piecemeal Accession, 35 VA. J. INT’L
L. 539, 540 n.4 (1994-95) (citing David E. Sanger, An Epidemic Averted: Foot-in-Mouth Disease, N.Y.
TIMES, Dec. 11, 1994, at 22).
203. See Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA, supra note 202 (explaining that “[t]he effort
to unite the economies of the Americas into a single free trade area began at the Summit of the
Americas, which was held in December 1994 in Miami, U.S.A.”); U.S. Gov’t Accountability Office,
GAO-05-166, Free Trade of The Americas: Missed Deadline Prompts Efforts to Restart Stalled
Hemispheric Trade Negotiations (2005) (noting that the FTAA would reduce trade barriers and foster
economic integration), available at http://www.gao.gov/assets/250/245705.pdf.
204. See Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA: Links to FTA Countries, FTAAALCA.ORG, http://www.ftaa-alca.org/busfac/clist_e.asp (last visited Mar. 14, 2013) (listing the

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negotiations, the represented countries agreed to complete negotiations by
2005,205 but the FTAA missed that deadline.206 The heads of the FTAA held
the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Colombia in April 2012,207 but no
significant progress was made.208 Perhaps given the slow progress of the FTAA
talks over time, some countries, including the United States and Mexico, have
moved in the direction of establishing bilateral trade deals, not wanting to lose
a chance of hemispheric trade expansion.209
The FTAA Chapter of interest to this article is the Draft Chapter in
Intellectual property Rights.210 Scholars have pointed out that the Draft Chapter
was based in part on NAFTA.211 As a result, the FTAA and NAFTA provisions
countries participating in FTAA, including the United States, Mexico and Canada).
Although most countries in the Americas are in the talks, Cuba has been excluded. See Joe
Zopolsky, Implementing the FTAA: A Survey of Hemispheric Unification Efforts Within the Americas
over the Past Ten Years, 9 CURRENTS INT’L TRADE L.J. 91, 91 (2000) (pointing out that Cuba has
been excluded from FTAA talks). See generally Jackie Calmes & William Neuman, Americas Meeting
Ends With Discord Over Cuba, The N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 15, 2012, available at
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/world/americas/summit-of-the-americas-ends-withoutconsensus-statement.html?_r=1& (reporting that a meeting of the FTAA countries was sharply divided
over whether to continue to exclude Cuba).
205. See Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA, supra note 202 (stating that the heads of
state of the thirty-five countries in the FTAA region “agreed to complete negotiations towards this
agreement by the year 2005”).
206. See Free Trade of The Americas: Missed Deadline, supra note 203, at 2 (stating that key
FTAA milestones for progress have been missed and that the January 2005 deadline for conclusion of
negotiations has been missed).
207. See Meetings of the Summit Implementation Review Group, SIRG, http://www.summitamericas.org/sirg_meet_2012.html#041412 (last visited Mar. 14, 2013) (showing the date of the last
Summit).
208. See Mandates Arising from the Sixth Summit of the Americas, SIRG, http://www.summitamericas.org/SIRG/2012/041412/mandates_sc_en.pdf (last visited Mar. 14, 2013) (listing the
mandates arising from the Sixth Summit of the Americas).
209. See Okediji, supra note 120, at 128–29 (noting that the United States has a strategy of
bilateral and regional free trade agreements). See generally Villarreal, supra note 8 (explaining that
Mexico has pursued an ambitious policy of trade liberalization, which has culminated in various Free
Trade Agreements).
Although the United States, like Mexico, has pursued a strategy of bilateral and regional FTA’s
that target intellectual property protection, unlike Mexico, it has not been praised for its efforts. See
Okediji, supra note 120, at 129 (lamenting that the United States employs a strategy of bilateral and
regional agreements “at the expense of developing countries whose interests in market access are often
of more immediate political and economic relevance to their domestic constituents”); Rosemary J.
Coombe, Fear, Hope, and Longing for the Future of Authorship and a Revitalized Public Domain in
Global Regimes of Intellectual Property, 52 DEPAUL L. REV. 1171, 1177 (2002-03) (describing the
growing tendency of the U.S. to press developing countries to accept bilateral treaties with higher IP
protection).
210. Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA: Second Draft Agreement, Chapter on
Intellectual Property Rights, FTAA-ALCA.ORG, http://www.ftaa-alca.org/ftaadraft02/ngip1_e.asp#
SECTION%201 (last visited Mar. 14, 2013).
211. See Maria Julia Olivia, Intellectual Property in the FTAA: Little Opportunity and Much

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are largely aligned, albeit with minor differences. One of those differences is in
the Requirement of Use, which under NAFTA allows a member country to
cancel a registration after two years of non-use.212 Under the FTAA Draft
Chapter, a country may cancel a registration after five years of non-use.213
Another difference between NAFTA and the FTAA Draft Chapter is that
whereas NAFTA does not address the use of Domain names, the Draft Chapter
Does.214
3. TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an expanded version of the 2005
Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, for which
negotiations have been taken place since 2010.215 Although the initial
agreement included only Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore,
negotiations now involve eleven countries, including the United States, Mexico
and Canada.216 The goal of the TPP is to integrate the Asia-Pacific-wide region
and to negotiate a “high-standard, 21st century regional agreement . . . [and] to
include additional Asia-Pacific countries in successive clusters to eventually
cover a region that represents more than half of global output and over 40
percent of world trade.”217
Although TPP negotiations have been largely secretive, a draft of the TPP
Intellectual Property Protections was leaked.218 The TPP draft contains several
Risk, 19 AM. U. INT’L L. REV. 45, 61 (2003) (pointing out that the general provisions of the FTAA
draft Chapter on Intellectual Property Rights are derived from other documents including NAFTA).
212. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(8) (stating that a trademark may be cancelled after
two years of non-use). See also Samuels, supra note 142 (discussing the requirement of use of a
trademark to maintain registration).
213. See Free Trade Area of the Americas – FTAA: Second Draft Agreement, Chapter on
Intellectual Property Rights, supra note 210 (discussing Part II, Section 1, Article 9, Requirement of
Use, which states that registration may be cancelled after five years of non-use).
214. See id. (discussing Part II, Section 1, Article 13, Domain names on the internet, and
requiring parties to participate in the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure, and to make
efforts for adequate administration of domain names).
215. See TPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership, SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT, (Apr. 26, 2012),
available at http://www.fta.gov.sg/fta_ongoingneg_tpp.asp?hl=16 (stating that TPP formal
negotiations started in March 2010).
216. See The United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, USTR.GOV,
http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/fact-sheets/2011/november/united-states-trans-pacificpartnership (last visited Mar. 30, 2013) (listing the United States, Canada, and Mexico among the
eleven countries involved in the TPP negotiations).
217. Trans-Pacific Partnership Frequently Asked Questions, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, http://www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/TPPFAQ.pdf.
218. See Richard Chirgwin, U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership Proposal Leaked, The Register (11
Mar. 2011) available at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/11/us_tpp_proposal_leaked/ (reporting
the leak of the IP protections section of the TPP); see also The complete Feb 10, 2011 text of the US
proposal for the TPP IPR chapter, KEIONLINE.ORG (Mar. 10, 2011, 6:49 PM), http://keionline.org/

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provisions that are different than what NAFTA provides. Article 2.1 of the TPP
proposal expands the mandatory scope of trademark protection by prohibiting
parties to “require, as a condition of registration, that a sign be visually
perceptible.”219 NAFTA allows a party to require that sign be visually
perceptible, as a condition of registration.220
Another difference between TPP and NAFTA is in Art. 2.4 of the TPP draft,
which seems to expand the scope of trademark protection in NAFTA from
prohibiting the use of “identical or similar signs for goods or services”221 to a
prohibition of the use of similar signs “for goods [and] services that are related
to those goods or services in respect of which the owner’s trademark is
registered.”222 What the impact of this change is remains unclear. Presumably
a good could be “related to” the trademarked good without being identical or
similar to it. This would raise the possibility that a trademark will be used to
cut off uses of marks that are not necessarily confusing consumers.
Like the FTAA Draft Chapter, the TPP draft addresses the use of domain
names, where NAFTA does not.223
VI. CONCLUSION
Trademarks play a very important role in the commercial exchange between
countries of the same or different continents and in both directions of the
economic highway. This explains how critical it is to first study the legal
framework that regulates trademarks and secondly to make sure that the
provisions of such frameworks are upheld. As previously mentioned, Mexico
has become an attractive “export platform” for the immense market of the
United States and Canada aside from its own market. Particularly, Mexico is
the bridge between two economic powers like the United States and the
European Union. Furthermore, the trade agreements that it has entered with
those superpowers offer the parties security and trust in their trades including
trademarks.
This article allows us to observe the international efforts to judicially

sites/default/files/tpp-10feb2011-us-text-ipr-chapter.pdf (containing the full text of the leaked TPR
IPR section).
219. The complete Feb 10, 2011 text of the US proposal for the TPP IPR chapter, supra note
218, at art 2.1.
220. See NAFTA, supra note 21, at art. 1708(1).
221. Id, at art. 1708(2).
222. The complete Feb 10, 2011 text of the US proposal for the TPP IPR chapter, supra note
218, at art 2.4.
223. See id., at art. 3 (providing dispute settlement based on principles established in the
Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, and requiring online public access to a reliable
and accurate database of contact information concerning domain-name registrant).

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converge issues on trademarks that have been made by countries that regardless
of having different legal traditions, have resulted in the acquisition of valuable
results of judicial harmonization in this subject matter. This has been
accomplished thanks to the organizations and international instruments
discussed throughout this article.
Finally, considering at all times the protection of the two principal actors
involved in trademarks, the trademark owner and the trademark users or
consumers, under the rule of free and trustworthy competition, it would be an
ongoing task to adjust the trademark normative to the reality of commercial
flows, technological advances, and the trade in general.

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Citation

Roberto Rosas, “Trademarks Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with References to the Current Mexican Law,” St. Mary's Law Digital Repository, accessed September 26, 2017, http://lawspace.stmarytx.edu/item/18MarqIntellPropLRev167.

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