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Australia stands strong on global Manuka naming battle

Australia stands strong on global Manuka naming battle
New Zealand attempts trade mark in UK courts

Monday 18th December - The Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA), a group of some of Australia’s largest Manuka honey manufacturers was last week made aware of a recent decision by the United Kingdom Trade Mark Registry to allow a New Zealand group to trademark the term Manuka Honey.

Yet to be published by the UK Trade Mark Registry, this move further reinforces the AMHA mission to collectively oppose any attempts to monopolise international naming or market rights.

The AMHA has engaged legal representation in the United Kingdom who has been briefed to act swiftly in refuting the attempt to trade mark ‘Manuka’ – honey that has been produced in Australia naturally since records have been kept in the 1800’s.

“Given our inability to take part in the UK trade mark registry conversations (by due process the Registry does not deal with other interested parties until after it decides to allow a trademark) and the significance of the misinformation provided, legal action is our only option and not one we wished to pursue” said Paul Callander Managing Director of Manuka Life and the Australian Manuka Honey Association’s inaugural Chairman.

Australia has more than 80 Manuka species in comparison to New Zealand who only have one and the Australian Manuka has been shown to have exceptionally high levels of antibacterial activity.

It is worth noting, the United Kingdom Trademark claim against Australian use of the term Manuka notes that one Leptospermum species used in New Zealand to produce Manuka honey has been shown to have migrated from Australia – most likely from Tasmania, where it grows naturally, further substantiating Australia’s argument against exclusivity.

“UK law stipulates a period for interested parties to object and we propose to deliver submissions to the United Kingdom Trade Mark Registry vigorously opposing this application,” continued Callander.

We are a transparent industry and the recent formation of the AMHA was designed to support and deepen this, protecting a historical and important Australian industry as well as bringing to light inaccuracies and mistruths so that consumers can make informed decisions about the products they buy.

About the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA)

Formed in October 2017, the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) was initiated by a group of Australia’s leading Manuka honey exporters, including ASX listed Capilano Honey Limited, Berringa, Manuka Life Pty Ltd, Blue Hills Honey and Honey Australia.
The collective’s mission is to formally oppose any attempts to monopolise international naming or market rights, support each other and promote the Australian Manuka industry.
The group has also assembled a panel of industry authorities including leading scientific experts, the Honeybee Cooperative Research Centre (CRC HBP), Australian Government Intellectual Property (IP) Officials, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and Australia’s most dedicated honey packers to lead the charge in protecting Australia’s right to promote its native Manuka honey.

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