Mexico expedites appeals

September 11, 2016 at 12:21 PM Leave a comment

On June 14, 2016, the latest amendments to the “Ley Federal de Procedimiento Contencioso Administrativo” or Federal Statute of Administrative Contentious Procedure (Statute) became effective. The Statute governs the appeal proceedings before the “Tribunal Federal de Justicia Administrativa” or Federal Court of Administrative Affairs (FCAA), formerly called “Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa” or Federal Court of Tax and Administrative Affairs (FCTAA).

Virtually all final decisions that the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office (MPTO) and the Mexican Copyright Office (MCO) issue may be challenged with the FCAA. Technically speaking, the challenge with the FCAA is not an appeal, but a trial, where the MPTO or the MCO are the defendants; these procedures are often referred to as “nullity trials”. However, I think “appeal” is a good analogy, so that is how I am going to call the procedures to challenge the final decisions of the MCO and MPTO.

The main purpose of the amendments to the Statute was shortening the time that an appeal takes to be decided. The press release issued after the enactment of the amendment explicitly stated that the FCAA expected a drop of up to 50% in the timing of deciding an appeal.

Basically, the amendment cut the terms to file and oppose appeals, to file final arguments and to cure flaws in the brief, among others. For example, the term to file and oppose the appeal was 45 business days; now, it is 30 business days. We used to have 15 business days to file the final arguments; the amended term is only 5 days.

The amended Statute also seeks to force judges to issue decisions faster.

The amendments are not applicable to appeals filed before June 14, 2016.

Oddly enough, the Statute, as amended, has a handful of technical inconsistencies, evidencing that Congress was not careful enough when preparing the amendment. However, I think the inconsistencies will not be an actual source of concern.

Although the terms cuts seem a good measure to reduce the time an appeal takes to be decided, I wonder if that was all Congress could do to make the appeal proceedings with the FCAA faster.

Further, in an appeal against the rejection or abandonment of a patent, copyright or trademark application, cutting the term to file the appeal implies reducing the opportunity of the applicant to adequately prepare the defense of its rights against a possibly illegal, even abusive, decision. In a time when the defense of humans rights at Mexican courts has taken an unprecedented push, making it harder to applicants to challenge the decisions of the MPTO and the MCO does not seem to harmonize with the pro personae tendency.

Entry filed under: Copyright law, Patent Law, Trademark law. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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