25 Jan 2022

Media release: Clayton Utz marks historic milestone with Commonwealth's acquisition of copyright in the Aboriginal Flag

Brisbane, 25 January 2022: Clayton Utz is proud to have played a role in the Commonwealth of Australia acquiring the copyright in the Aboriginal Flag, so as to be able to make it freely available for public use.

Clayton Utz Intellectual Property partner Cameron Gascoyne led our team (including partners Jamie Doran and Simon Newcomb and consultant Michael Klug AM) in working alongside the National Indigenous Australian Agency's legal team (representing the Commonwealth) in its negotiations with the Flag's creator, Harold Thomas, for the transfer of copyright.  

The Aboriginal Flag will be managed in a similar manner to the Australian National Flag. Flagworld will continue to be the exclusive manufacturer of Aboriginal flags, and Mr Thomas will retain his moral rights in the Flag's design.  The Flag must also be presented in a respectful and dignified way.

Mr Thomas and the Commonwealth have also agreed, as part of the transfer, that all future royalties the Commonwealth receives from Flagworld’s sale of the flag will be put towards the ongoing work of NAIDOC.  The Australian Government will also provide an annual $100,000 scholarship in Mr Thomas’ honour for Indigenous students to further the development of Indigenous governance and leadership.

Our lead partner Cameron Gascoyne said the Clayton Utz team was pleased to be engaged on a transaction of such historic national significance.

The Aboriginal Flag is a unifying symbol for Indigenous Australians, and we're proud that, through the agreement announced today, the people to whom the flag means so much can embrace and use it freely. 

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.