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The New Zealand Rugby Union has told the Flag Consideration Project officials that permission to use the well-known fern on a new national flag was unlikely.  Hamish Selby, intellectual property expert spoke to the NZ Herald and said NZ Rugby's decision was understandable and that any public relations benefits in allowing the fern to be used would be short-term.

"It's almost like handing over the crown jewels, so to speak, of their business to someone for no commercial gain," Hamish said. "NZ Rugby has a very strong commercial alignment with its fern because the fern is so closely aligned with the All Blacks, and it leverages a lot of its income from the commercial arrangements it has."

Read the full article here: Hands off our silver fern: New Zealand Rugby Union warned off flag committee over its trademarked symbol