New York International Law Review
A trademark is any distinctive sign indicating that certain products or services have been manufactured or rendered by a specific person or company. 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. 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 in Part one serve as an introduction to this article consisting of six parts. Part two provides a brief explanation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Part three involves the study of trademarks under chapter XVII of the Agreement. It is important to mention that the entire study of all definitions and norms that this part contains are based exclusively 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. It is noteworthy to mention that through international agreements like NAFTA, one can witness the convergence of two countries with distinct legal traditions, such as Mexico and the Unites States, and in large part Canada, and the unification of the asymmetry that exists between the three 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. Part five discusses the introduction of Mexico into the international trademark arena. The international treaties that Mexico has entered into in trademark matters, as well as those that are still pending, are also set forth. Finally, in Part six, references are made to the new Trademarks Law of Spain of December 7, 2001, through the provisions of NAFTA, and observations are made on selected definitions and comparable norms under current Mexican legislation.
Roberto Rosas, Trademarks Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) With References to the New Trademark Law of Spain, Effective July 31, 2002, and the Current Mexican Law, 16 N.Y. Int'l L. R. 147 (2003).