While there is still work to be done to achieve a more fair and accessible intellectual property (IP) system for Latin America, we have been contributing to this goal since 2013 with the Colombian-Swiss Intellectual Property project COLIPRI II. Through this project, we promote a strengthened intellectual property system for all entrepreneurs, creators, researchers and producers in Colombia, understanding its importance for the economic, environmental and tourism development of the regions.
COLIPRI II works, among other IP issues, to strengthen designations of origin, collective and certification marks, through the development of community-level associations, with an emphasis on making these a tourist attraction in themselves. The project promotes intersectoral dialogue so that all actors in the value chain, from tourism and competitiveness, seek a common goal in order to strengthen an identity for a particular location or region.
For example, the protection of intellectual property is fundamental to avoid incorrect use, exploitation and plagiarism that does not take into account the systems of symbols, values, history and cultural elements of indigenous communities. Thus, the official Designation of Origin of Wayuu weaving protects the traditional weavings of this Guajira community, embodied in their backpacks and hammocks (chinchorros). Similarly, the collective trademark "Sombrero Vueltiao" is for the exclusive use of the Zenú indigenous reservation of San Andrés de Sotavento, in Cesar, in the Colombian Caribbean. Both products are symbols of Colombian culture. This promotes sustainable cultural tourism as it attracts people interested in learning more about these traditional crafts and contributes to the economic development of the villages.