An artisan works on one of the pieces of whimsical folk art. An artisan works on one of the pieces of whimsical folk art.

Oaxaca seeks protection against Chinese-made alebrijes

State applies for geographical indication to protect the folk art

The government of Oaxaca is taking legal action to protect the colorful artisanal wooden figurines called alebrijes from plagiarism and piracy by Chinese producers.

Oaxaca Economy Secretary Juan Pablo Guzmán said that a request has been sent to the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to enforce a protection order for the folk art.

The registration called geographical indication will safeguard the Oaxacan heritage from inauthentic imitations.

“The IMPI has received the project sent by the government of Oaxaca for geographical indication for alebrijes, by which the wooden figurines carved by artisans would be protected at the national and international levels so that they won’t be subject to plagiarism and piracy,” he said.

The legal instrument will bring artisans better remuneration and worldwide prestige for their work, which will be protected and recognized across the globe, Guzmán said.

The government is working to protect textiles and the red and black clay pottery styles unique to the state in the same way, so that they also receive industrial protection from the IMPI.

“In Oaxaca artisans face problems such as competition from foreign products, primarily Chinese ones that are sold at lower prices and put them at a disadvantage, but also the fact that some foreigners take the models of the folk art and pirate them,” he said.

He added that the protection protocol aims to help with the production and commercialization of artisanal products, as well as advise artisans on intellectual property issues so that their creations and ideas are not stolen by others.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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