Indigenous Knowledge Consultations image
Published: 
2 March 2021

IP Australia’s Indigenous Knowledge Consultations 2021 are now open until 25 May 2021.
We are looking at ways the IP system can better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to benefit from and protect their Indigenous Knowledge. 

We use ‘Indigenous Knowledge', or IK, as a term to cover a range of culture and knowledge held and continually developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

If you own, use or work with Indigenous Knowledge, then get involved.

We are seeking the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other Australians, on four topics.

  • Establish an Indigenous Advisory Panel – provide a formal Indigenous voice to IP Australia.
  • Enhance the process for trade marks and designs – support IK owners to benefit from, and consent to, the use of their IK.
  • Declare the source of IK in new innovations – encourage transparency and recognition of IK owners
  • Explore interest in authenticity labelling – promote Indigenous products.

Of particular interest to the broader Australian business and research community are the changes we are looking to make around the declaration for new innovations, and the requirements around consent to use Indigenous knowledge.

There is no requirement in the patent system for applicants to disclose if they have used genetic resources or IK. This can make it difficult for traditional owners to check if IK is being used or commercialised for the purposes it was provided, and for researchers to demonstrate they have done their due diligence. Our consultation paper explores a disclosure of source requirement for patents and plant breeders’ rights, and when it should apply.

We are exploring new measures to enhance the trade marks and designs systems. We want to help make sure that people aren't using IK in ways that could be inappropriate, unfair or offensive. Through our consultations, we will explore the types of evidence people could provide to show they have consent to use IK in a trade mark – or tell us if they are using knowledge which belongs to them.

To get involved, read the consultation paper, take a 15-minute survey, email comments, or write a submission.

To stay up to date on our consultations, join our mail list.