In response to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, both the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the National Copyrights Institute (INDAUTOR), issued official communications suspending due to force majeure all legal proceedings as well as the attention to the public.
First, in the official communication published in the Mexican Official Gazette on March 23, IMPI declared the suspension of legal response and processing deadlines, from March 23 to April 19, 2020, regardless of the filing means (either in hardcopy or in e-filing). Thus, in case of e-filing for applications or motions during that period, its filing date will be Monday, April 20, 2020.
Exceptionally, the referred suspension will not apply in the following cases:
i. Any type of act necessary for contributing to the mitigation of COVID-19 effects; or,
ii. Lift provisional measures imposed as injunctions in infringement actions.
Second, in alignment with the preventive measures to mitigate the health risks, on March 27, 2020, IMPI issued a second official communication, announcing its temporary shutdown from March 27, 2020 and until April 19, 2020.
Exceptionally, IMPI may summon its personnel in the following situations:
i. In response to IMPI´s urgent matters or any act to help mitigating the effects of COVID-19; or,
ii. Lift provisional measures imposed as injunctions in infringement actions, enabling days and hours necessary for this purpose.
It is worthwhile mentioning that although IMPI suspended its activities, its online platform has limited operation. The platform allows users to upload applications and motions, including the payment of the corresponding fees. However, the e-signature of said applications or briefs will be enabled until April 20, 2020; thus, it is impossible to finish the e-filing process at this time.
Similarly, INDAUTOR, through official communications published in the Official Gazette, announced the suspension of its activities and in-person service, from March 26 and until the sanitary authorities lift the preventive measures. The suspension includes application filings, renewals of reserva de derechos; prosecution and notices issued in conciliatory hearings, arbitration and administrative procedures.
Exceptionally, INDAUTOR allows for e-filing of the following services:
i. Applications for copyright or reserva de derechos certificates, through address: email@example.com.
ii. Prior assessment requests.
iii. ISBN/ISSN applications from existing editors.
Notwithstanding, these applications’ prosecution will start when INDAUTOR reopens.
Finally, based on the General Sanitary Council’s declaration of Sanitary Emergency, dated March 30, which ordered the suspension of all the non-essential activities in the public, private, and social sectors from March 30 and until April 30, it may be understood that, both IMPI and INDAUTOR’s suspension of activities and prosecution, will be extended until April 30, in alignment with the Council’s orders.