17 September 2020

The misuse of Indigenous Knowledge including art, culture, language or adopting a similar style is offensive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It can undermine cultural practices and affect the economic opportunities available for authentic products.

If you are considering an IP application that uses something from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, community or nation, we encourage you to consider this new information about working respectfully with Indigenous Knowledge.

While each situation will be different, there is a commonality in the importance of acting respectfully and with the consent of the Traditional Owner.

Recognising the impact of misuse, we are contributing to the government’s response to the Report on the impact of inauthentic art and craft in the style of First Nations peoples. A range of recommendations made by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs’ will be progressed, including two that we will be involved in:

  • Further exploring the use of certification trade marks to protect authentic products.
  • Contributing to cross-government work to explore the possibility of stand-alone legislation relating to the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

This contributes to our IK Work Plan 2020-2021 and will benefit from consultation with the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry.

For further information you can join our mailing list or email