Agustín Azcatl
Director General
S&S IP Law
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IP Protection For Innovative Companies

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 09/17/2020 - 09:11

Q: What makes S&S IP Law a nontraditional firm and how does this translate into benefits for your clients?

A: Regular industrial property (IP) legal offices are directed by lawyers, but S&S IP Law’s approach and services are a combined effort between lawyers and engineers. This allows us to approach matters in a more technical way. We focus mostly on preventing legal actions that would force companies to defend their products rather than protect them. That is our competitive advantage: we avoid problems instead of fighting to solve them. We guide companies to make their products unique or different so they do not infringe existing patents.

We work with different industries. We do not have a specific client profile but we would like to expand and to promote the importance of prevention in IP matters. Legal vacuums on the subject make companies vulnerable and we can help to prevent that. S&S is looking to expand its client portfolio mostly in areas like pharmaceuticals, chemistry and biotechnology.

Q: What are the main challenges you see in IP protection?

A: It is very important to break the taboo of investing in industrial property. Processes for registering a patent are long, taking from three to four years and many investors see this time as a waste of money or a bad investment. On the contrary, S&S IP Law sees this as an opportunity to protect intangibles because it is something that will bring benefits and avoid problems in the long run.

Q: What are the pharmaceutical industry’s main concerns regarding IP protection, pending USMCA’s ratification?

A: One of the most relevant changes for the health industry is the extension of the protection period on pharmaceuticals. The impact will not exclusively be on patents; it can also lead to delays on phytosanitary registers or rights for generics, which is one of the reasons why the US backed away from signing the treaty at one point. Mexico evaluated this matter but concluded that changes would not affect the actual state of affairs. These regulations already existed, so I would suggest that companies worry about things like making a different product or improving what already exists.

Q: What are the general and legal considerations that marijuana legalization should include?

A: There are many existing patents on cannabis products with several uses. Cannabis has been around for a while so there are many studies related to its use, which have led many brands to protect and register their products. This also made possible the creation of regulations for products and consumption. Regulations grant control over the use of cannabis and allow clients to ask for better-quality products. It also protects the consumer and creates an environment where we can start to think about economic benefits. Many companies have foreseen this and taken the necessary steps for when Mexico is ready to implement a legal framework for cannabis. This is the advantage of IP: your right over the product exists and remains even if you have to wait to exploit it. 

Q: What topics will become relevant in the near future regarding IP in Mexico?

A: Unfortunately, we have realized that legal matters are not seen as a crucial pillar when developing a product, which later allows piracy to exist and to be the problem that it is right now in Mexico. Protection would eliminate many complications, and save on time and costs. Companies need to recognize the benefit this means for their long-term growth.

Q: What are the challenges and opportunities that the new distribution scheme creates for pharmaceuticals, distributors and for patients?

A: The new distribution scheme has opened the market, which will boost competition and lead to lower prices. Also, it enables small and medium-sized companies to participate. A lack of legal protection would put these small and medium-sized companies at a disadvantage against big players. I understand that legal protection might not be a concern when you are just starting a company, but it is important to understand that the brand itself could become even more valuable than the infrastructure of the company. We also do not have certainty on policies as they are constantly changing and destabilizing the market. This also highlights the importance of IP.

Q: What are S&S IP Law’s main goals for the near term?

A: We want to expand into different areas of the market, mainly technology and protection of medical devices, for example, or medical design and software. Dabbling into this area will allow us to grow as a company and improve our services. We are fully aware of the fact that technology is a fast-growing sector and we are looking forward to offering our services to those companies. Our main focus is to provide services to SMEs and to help them understand the importance of IP protection so they can prioritize it in their budgets.

 

S&S IP Law was founded in 2014. However, its engineers and lawyers contribute almost 60 years of experience and specialization. It provides services to a wide variety of segments, including industrial property and technology transfer

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst