México’s Patent and Trademark Office Comes to Pasadena, California

On May 12, 2021 the Adjunct General Director of el Instituto Méxicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI), or, México’s Patent and Trademark Offices, came to Pasadena to speak at an event hosted by my offices. I had the privilege of also speaking following his informative presentation on the changes to México’s Intellectual Property landscape in light of the United States- México-Canada (USMCA) Agreement.

In the US it is the USMCA, in México is the T-MEC, and in Canada, (if it interests you) it is the CMUC. All reference the same agreement. 

The real changes brought about by the USMCA as applied to México as far as Intellectual Property (IP) is concerned is that there is no longer a requirement to record at IMPI, licenses for Intellectual Property in order to enforce your IP rights. This allows persons with IP licenses in Mexico to keep their licenses out of the public eye and removes an extra requirement if one wanted to enforce a license.

As long as I can remember, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (U.S.P.T.O.) had never had a mechanism, let alone a requirement to record licenses. It is recommended in either country, that an owner of a Trademark or Patent record any assignment of their rights. 

A notable difference between Trademark filings in the two countries is that the U.S.P.T.O. requires a foreigner to hire a U.S. attorney in good standing with any state bar to file documents relating to a trademark, including foreign marks filed by way of the Madrid Protocol. In contrast, at IMPI there is no requirement that a trademark filing be handled by a licensed Mexican attorney.

Of interest is that in México, there is a new law that prohibits the advertisement of drawings of characters like Chester Cheetah and Tony the Tiger on the packaging of the high sugar and/or fat products they are connected to. The idea is that by disassociating the enticement of the fun characters with the unhealthy product, children will be less attracted to the unhealthy product. In response, it appears companies have then begun decorating their entire packaging with Chester Cheetah’s orange and black feline markings.

What I found fascinating was that built into IMPI’s trademark application is an option to request your mark be deemed famous. If you can prove at the application stage that your mark is famous, which we are assured is extremely difficult to do, then you can enjoy a Trademark Guelaguetza; you can market and sell your goods or services across the board in all forty-two classes spreading your wings across every available good or service. So, for example, the registered owner of the famous mark for the bread, BIMBO, can use their mark in México to, manufacture cars, service home loans, sell high-end designer handbags, spurs, and even tequila, even though in México, they only had to prove their fame for making bread.

In comparison, at the U.S.P.T.O, there is no option in the application stage to request the mark be deemed famous, and a famous mark does not get such privilege across every international class. 

I wonder whether I would be confused if I came across cowboy boots bearing the mark, APPLE, and whether I would wonder whether that tech giant thought they would take a stab at selling apparel.

Ultras and Derby Dolls

Any ultra marathoner and any woman that has competed as a “Derby Doll” have my highest praise. For those of you not in “the know”, Derby Dolls are those fabulous women that battle for points in a roller skating rink. Ultras, short for ultra marathons, are any marathon above 26.2 miles, i.e., 50 or 100 milers.


The fierceness of the Derby Doll league thrills spectators; and while many of the ladies have attained local celebrity status, they are badly beaten in the rink. At a recent event, the count of injuries after the first half was eight, Dr. Michael, one of their many on-staff doctors confirmed. If you are a Derby Doll, you are physically pounded, but, from event-goers receive nothing short of admiration.

The non-runners strange fear of running long distances is fascinating. A non-runners reaction to an ultra is akin to having told them you plan to take a nap on top of railroad tracks, immediately followed by voice over health concerns. It is amazing that this concern exists in the country with the highest rate of obesity. A significantly greater amount of people in the U.S. have more back, knee, and ankle problems due to lack of exercise and obesity, than due to running. This makes sense, the extra weight stresses and injures the joints.


Non-runners most often recall Pheidippides, an injured Greek soldier who ran 25 miles to tell the people of Marathon the news of the defeat of the Persians, and to warn of a surprise attack. It is said that Pheidippides collapsed and died immediately after delivering the information. Many forget that Pheidippides was injured from the battle before he ran the long distance, which could explain his death.

So apparently, the non-runners fear of running is grounded in the stories of marathoners that have suddenly dropped dead during or after a marathon. Research suggests the reason people suddenly die during athletic events is attributed to a genetic disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCOM, which can be detected by an echocardiogram. All serious runners should also screen for Phidippides cardiomyopathy, a non-genetic disorder that has been attributed to endurance training andcan be detected by a cardiac MRI. More information can be found in the following link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2014/04/15/why-do-healthy-people-die-running-marathons/.


To all athletes, get proper heart screenings, so you may continue to inspire us to stretch the limits. My favorite marathon story is that of Amber Miller; about 7 hours after completing the 2011 Chicago marathon, she delivered a healthy baby girl; she ran at 38 weeks pregnant. Amber had signed up for the marathon before she knew of her pregnancy; a veteran runner, she had prior clearance from her Dr. to run the marathon. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/8136835-418/woman-gives-birth-after-running-chicago-marathon.html#.VCx6Svk7uSo.

The One With The Snake

Angelenos flocking to the Coachella Valley have a mind to bask by the pool, and when doing nothing is exhausted,

Palm Springs Rededicated Marilyn Monroe's Star for her 86th Birthday

sightseeing includes looking up giant Marilyn Monroe’s dress in Palm Springs (excellent idea Seward Johnson).

For the active insider, hiking trails are the real treasures of the Valley.  Indian Canyon, Tahquitz, and other canyons, are beautiful escapes to the 100+ degree heat into lush and rocky revenes carrying streams of crisp mountain water powering into gorgeous waterfalls.  The Oasis, is flat, sandy, with streams running through to the Chocolate Mountains and leads to a mirage that becomes a reality where towering palms overhead create a shady haven for large ponds teeming with flora and wildlife.

My running problem recently took me to a hiking trail known as “the one with the snake”; as my friends’ who introduced the trail to me explained, the name came about after they saw a rattlesnake there on one of their early morning hikes, how clever.

The one with the snake trail begins right off of Hwy 111 behind the Vons in Palm Springs, how’s that for keeping a theme for precision?  The hike is an immediate steep incline, persisting for just under a mile, great for practicing running toe first and with rewarding dramatic views of the valley and into the pass brimming with windmills.

Bob's House
Runners should be cautious of mountain bikers on their downward ascent, I would have died to have seen one of them riding up.  For hikers, it seemed a requirement to bring your dog, often times leashless, and I observed an almost 1/1 ratio of dogs and humans, however, my little maltese, not climatized to the desert heat, and to the satisfaction of my running partner, insisted we walk most of this one, and take plenty of water breaks.

Bob is Dead

An unusual side tour is on a road, seemingly leading to Bob Hope’s house, but, as the sign educates, actually does not, and sadly reminds us, that Bob Hope is dead anyway.

No Trespassing

And because our terror of extreme nasal hair outweighed our spirit for discovering new hiking trails, or, seeing Bob Hope’s house up close, we abandoned our attempts and contemplated whether we had actually discovered the road leading to the “tiny town” that is rumored to exist “behind Bob Hope’s house”.

I am a runner and trademark and copyright attorney.  I volunteer with my best friend and running partner, Monty (a Maltese) at Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Pet Assisted Therapy program and am a co-chair of the Technology Section of the Pasadena Bar Association and a board member of the San Gabriel Valley Bar Association.  If you have trademark, or copyright questions, or know someone that does, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation.  Email or phone at 626.831.8077.

Astronomy and Law

NASA has announced a new service to help people see the International Space Station (ISS) when it passes overhead. “Spot the Station” will send an email or text message to anyone that signs up for the service.  A message will be sent a few hours before the space station is visible.

When the space station is visible — typically at dawn and dusk — it is the brightest object in the night sky, other than the moon. On a clear night, the station is visible as a fast moving point of light, similar in size and brightness to the planet Venus. “Spot the Station” users will have the options to receive alerts about morning, evening or both types of sightings.

Sometimes, however, the ISS passes overhead during the day.


The International Space Station’s trajectory passes over more than 90 percent of Earth’s population. The service is designed to only…

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In Avondale, AZ, All Trails Lead To Sonic


My running problem resurfaced in Avondale, Arizona, over the New Year long weekend.  The morning after a late night playing darts in my cousin’s man cave, the bright desert sun shone through my bedroom window and I jumped out of bed, grabbed my running shoes, leashed my dog, Monty, and set off on an exploratory run.  Irrigation canals criss-crossed through the field adjacent to the neighborhood, which was still in transition from rural to urban.  Running a dirt trail alongside the larger of the canals, Monty noticed the goats and chickens corralled in people’s one-acre yards; I don’t think Monty had ever before seen either, and I marveled at the idea of hurrying home from working in a skyscraper in downtown Phoenix to milk your cow.  A large fish in the canal hurriedly swam away; and I later learned it was an algae-eater, farmed there to keep the canals free of algae.  When we cut through a dirt trail smack dab in the middle of the field, Monty took off at full speed and I completely understood why, the desert seemed endless there with field surrounding, no mountains, no clouds just this long eternal trail, and vast empty, gorgeous space, what else was there to do but run?  It was strange to come to the edge of the field and see a Sonic burger sitting there on a four-lane street.  After cutting through the cemetery, we discovered a great neighborhood that integrated the canals into the planning, each home had a small bridge constructed over the irrigation canal, allowing access to the home. I showed Monty the ducks that swam in those canals, he had never before seen a duck either, and quickly learned how exciting it was to make them fly, we chased them for blocks.  We ran six miles  and lamentably missed out on the morning preparations for supper; this year there was no meat-centered meal for New Year’s, instead, we decided to make Vietnamese Pho, a health-conscious choice for those relatives with diabetes and/or high-cholesterol.  Like Chinese food, Pho fills you up, but, the hunger sets in again in no time, so it wasn’t long after supper when we ended up at the Sonic across from the field ordering fried fat.

Space Tourism Soon To Be A Reality?

Astronomy and Law

A British space-exploration company has revealed its aim to fly the public to the moon from 2015 – providing you have £100m for a ticket.Isle of Man-based Excalibur Almaz owns a fleet of six proven aircraft that it wishes to use for crewed space missions to the moon and beyond.

In an address at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Excalibur Almaz’s founder and chief executive officer, Art Dula, outlined the business case that underpins the project, which is based on independent research by the Futron Corporation on the economics of commercial space voyages and lunar missions.

“The lunar mission costs about $150m (£96m) a seat for the first mission”, Dula told The Engineer. “I expect prices will decline after this”.

The company intends to use a combined spacecraft – comprising an “Almaz” capsule and a “Salyut-class” spacecraft — as a transportation system to the moon, asteroids and deep space.

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Astronomy and Law

Unless there is a written agreement to the contrary, signed by both parties, a copyrighted work is owned by the author.  If the employer or the person the work was made is deemed the owner of the copyright, then it is considered a work made for hire.  It is EXTRMEMLY important for employees and consultants to understand the meaning of a “work for hire.”

Section 101 of the copyright law defines a “work made for hire” as:

  • A work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or
  • A work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as
a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in…

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Calls for a Narrative – Secret Weapon for a Runner

“Objection! Calls for a narrative!” During normal business hours, that is, during deposition, or, trial, that is how an attorney would normally respond to a question tailored to elicit an answer that narrates a series of occurrences, or, as we refer to it in plain English, a story. That is not the case for me on my long runs. In fact, on my long runs, especially those that take you up a ridiculously steep hill, like the one in Griffith Park that we call, “trash truck”, my secret weapon is that question that calls for a narrative. It is not uncommon that I can’t catch my breath and am struggling to keep up with the running veteran beside me, so, to avoid the feeling I hate the most, the one I get when I am holding someone up, I ask my running partner a question that calls for a narrative, and it sends them on a story, always a fascinating one, such as travelling to all forty-eight states in the U.S. on a motorcycle in a month. And what happens? My mind wanders away from those miserable blisters and aching muscles and I imagine myself riding carefree on a motorcycle. But, more importantly, my partners breathing pattern is affected, and I catch up (because they slow down); sneaky to you, but, to me, it is a symbiotic running relationship.

A Marilyn Monroe Interruption

I interrupt my running problem to ponder a recent decision in the Ninth Circuit, involving Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe, a world icon, died belonging to the Public, this was decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on August 27, 2012.  The underlying case involved a consolidated action between Marilyn Monroe, LLC and Milton Green and certain other holders of copyrights for photographs of Marilyn Monroe.

The California statutory right to publicity was created in 1984, two years after the last of Marilyn Monroe’s remaindermen heirs deceased, and it codified a descendible, posthumous right of publicity.  Prior to that, the right of publicity extinguished at the time of death, as is still the case in New York.

At the time of Monroe’s death her estate claimed she was really a New York resident even though she purchased and moved into a home in Brentwood, California in 1962, where she was found dead on August 5, 1962 after being fired from 20th Century Fox Studios in June of 1962 for repeated absences and tardiness during the filming of Something’s Got To Give.  Monroe’s attorney at the time convinced the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Franchise Tax Board, the Inheritance Tax Appraiser, the State Board of Equalization and the state of New York of Monroe’s New York residence, and her estate avoided payment of California estate taxes.  In 1994, Nancy Miracle sued the executor of Marilyn Monroe’s estate Hawaii claiming she was the daughter of Marilyn Monroe seeking 50% of Monroe’s estate as a pretermitted heir under California law.  Under the California law in effect at Monroe’s death, pretermitted children could bring claims even if [, like Miracle,] they were born prior to execution of a will, while under the relevant New York law, claims could be brought only by ‘after-born children.’  The case was dismissed on the basis that New York law applied, giving no rights to the ‘after-born’ Miracle, because Marilyn Monroe died a resident of New York, and the same result was had when Miracle filed a similar action in the state of New York.

On May 14, 2007, on a summary judgment motion, the district court ruled in favor of Milton Green, concluding that because Marilyn Monroe, LLC was not entitled to exercise a right of publicity, it lacked standing to assert those rights against Milton Greene.  At that time, the right of publicity statute did not have a retroactive effect, and the court reasoned that no right of publicity could have passed applying either California or New York law.  In direct response to the summary judgment ruling, a bill was introduced to the senate and was enacted in September 2007, and it, in effect, amended the California statute to deem that the right of publicity existed at the time of death of any deceased personality that died prior to 1.1.1985, and could transfer through the residual clause of any deceased personality.  Based on the amendment, Marilyn Monroe, LLC sought reconsideration of the motion for summary judgment.  Reconsideration was granted, and the court ruled that had Marilyn Monroe died a California resident, the right of publicity would have passed through the residuary of her will, but, reasoning that judicial estoppel precluded Monroe from advocating that she died a resident of California, the court again, ruled in favor of Milton Green on the basis of Marilyn Monroe’s New York residency at the time of her death.

The Ninth Circuit was also not swayed, after much argument by Marilyn Monroe, LLC, that Monroe was not really a California resident when she died, the Court ruled that judicial estoppel precluding such a finding.  And so, fifty years after her death, the Ninth Circuit reached a ruling that determined that Marilyn Monroe died with no posthumous right of publicity, and her heirs will not benefit from their lobbying efforts to create that right in California.  I return to my running problem with the idea that unless you want to belong to the Public, if you’re going to die famous, don’t reside in New York.

“I knew I belonged to the Public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”          Marilyn Monroe, My Story 123-24 (Cooper Square Press 2000).

If you need help with registering your trademarks or copyrights, or know someone who does, please contact me at arvizu@ipcounsel.us or call 626.831.8077 and ask for Niria.

I am a runner and trademark and copyright attorney.  I volunteer with my best friend and running partner, Monty (a Maltese) at Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Pet Assisted Therapy program and am a co-chair of the Technology Section of the Pasadena Bar Association and a board member of the San Gabriel Valley Bar Association.

My Running Problem

I am past the first step, denial, and now freely admit that I have a problem, a running problem.  The goal is to get out into the open air and run until my heart’s content, but, outside circumstances interfere; an ankle injury, bronchitis, an avalanche of work, fatigue from too much running.  Join this IP attorney on […]