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The scope of a trademark

By: Jaime Israel Dávila Gómez, Attorney.

A trademark registered in Mexico grants its owner exclusive rights or prerogatives over it, which basically ensures that they are the only person to be able to use that trademark (or a very similar one) in the market. In order to understand these rights, it is very important to delimit their scope in relation to time and geographic space, as well as consider the scope within the economic activity in which the trademark is used.

First of all, we have that the owner of a registered trademark has its exclusive rights only for an initial period of 10 years, subject to renewal; since renewals are not limited, the trademark can be kept in force for as long as necessary (in Mexico we have trademarks that are more than 100 years old) while it is renewed and the corresponding notices of use are given to the authority. The scope in time, then, depends on the renewal and some declarative procedures so that time does not affect the brand and it does not expire.

Additionally, when talking of geographic space, the owner of a trademark can assert his rights in each and every one of the corners of the country, but not beyond its borders. In order to enjoy exclusive rights to the same trademark in other countries, the registration of the trademark would have to be obtained in that country in accordance with its laws and regulations. This principle of territoriality is responsible for some large brands entering other countries with other names since the original name was no longer available in the new market.

Finally, we have that the scope of the rights of a registered trademark is limited by the type of product or service related to the sign. In other words, when we register a trademark in Mexico before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, we have to link it to specific products or services, and only with respect to these (or those of the same nature) can we exercise our exclusive rights. For example, if a person registers the SOLAR 7 brand for marketing services, their exclusive rights are limited to those services, so they can only take legal action against those people who use their brand (or a very similar one) without their permission when providing marketing services or some other services that are of the same nature and with respect to which confusion may be generated in the consuming public.

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