Trade marks applications can be rejected if they are ‘scandalous or contrary to law’ and designs applications are also checked for ‘scandalous’ content. However, it is not clear whether the registration of trade marks and designs that may offend Indigenous people is prevented by the current Australian legislation. There is also no mechanism for consideration of whether Indigenous people have consented to the use of their Indigenous Knowledge in an application.
Under this proposal, IP Australia would explore measures to prevent registration of trade marks and designs using Indigenous Knowledge without consent or if offensive to Indigenous people.
The Australian Government has announced the public release of IP Australia’s Consultation Report – the Protection of Indigenous Knowledge in the Intellectual Property System. This report summarises stakeholders’ feedback received in our consultation on Indigenous Knowledge issues. It follows the publication of Indigenous Knowledge: Issues for protection and management, a paper produced by the Indigenous owned legal firm Terri Janke and Company for IP Australia and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.