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Software Patents Officially Banned in Mexico (IMPI), But Like in EPO They Get Granted Anyway

Mexican flag



Summary: The Mexican Patent Office (IMPI) leaves in tact loopholes for patenting software while maintaining the position that programming is not an invention and is covered by copyrights

IT WAS eight years ago when Mexico was preparing laws regarding software patents. In fact, these issues were covered online using the #NoPatentesDeSW hashtag at the time (it no longer yields any results) and programmers strongly opposed software patents, as usual. A few years later this FSF-aligned site stated that "Mexico has a Free Trade agreement with the USA. Such agreements are usually thought to require the patentability of software ideas, but software is reportedly explicitly excluded in Mexico's agreement (NAFTA)."



"That last part too suggests similarities to the EPO. What we ought to pursue, especially now that the US accepts that software patents were a bad idea (USPTO grants some, but courts reject these), is complete elimination of all software patents."According to this new overview (days old) of patents in Mexico "[s]oftware as such cannot be patented in Mexico" and note the similarity to EPO's Brimelow "as such". They even use the same words.

Rommy Morales and Alejandro Luna (OLIVARES) explained it like this:

To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?

Software as such cannot be patented in Mexico, since it falls within the prohibitions of Article 19 of the Industrial Property Law, which provides that computer programs are not considered inventions. Nevertheless, computer-readable claims are eligible for patent protection as long as the methodology and functions involved meet the patentability requirements.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

Business methods as such cannot be patented in Mexico, since they fall within the prohibitions of Article 19 of the Industrial Property Law, which provides that business methods are not considered inventions. Nevertheless, computer-implemented inventions are eligible for patent protection as long as they meet the patentability requirements.

The Mexican Patent Office (IMPI) criteria for assessing the patentability of computer-implemented inventions tend to be similar to those of the European Patent Office. For example, it is required that a technical problem be solved in a novel and non-obvious manner using technical means.

To what extent can inventions relating to stem cells be patented?

Inventions relating to stems cells are patentable as long as they do not involve the use or destruction of a human embryo in order to practise the invention, since the use thereof for obtaining human embryonic stem cells is prohibited on grounds of morality.

Inventions involving stem cells derivable from parthenotes or from established cell lines are patent eligible.


That last part too suggests similarities to the EPO. What we ought to pursue, especially now that the US accepts that software patents were a bad idea (USPTO grants some, but courts reject these), is complete elimination of all software patents. No sneaky words like "as such" (similar in India and New Zealand).

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