Honey producers appeal after failed ‘mānuka honey’ branded bid

Honey producers have launched an appeal after a trademark offer of the term “mānuka honey” was rejected by UK authorities.

A trademark application had been filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office which, if successful, would have meant that only New Zealand honey could be called mānuka in that market.

However, it was rejected late last year with the bureau ruling that while the vast majority of mānuka honey sold in Britain appeared to come from New Zealand, there was no suggestion the public would understand. that it came exclusively from New Zealand.

The bureau also awarded costs to the Australian Manuka Honey Association which opposed the application.

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The Mānuka Honey Appellation Society and the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association said they would appeal the decision, with support from other industry groups.

Honey producers are appealing after the UK Intellectual Property Office rejected a trademark offer of the term


Honey producers are appealing after the UK Intellectual Property Office rejected an offer to trademark the term “mānuka honey”.

Mānuka Charitable Trust chairman Pita Tipene said the industry’s aim was to protect the term ‘mānuka honey’ so that it could only be used on New Zealand products.

The group felt it was inappropriate for honey producers in another country to use the name mānuka honey when the plant from which the nectar originated did not grow in Aotearoa New Zealand, a- he declared.

The issue was also one of indigenous rights and the decision was “out of step” with existing indigenous intellectual property frameworks and consumer demand for authenticity and quality, he said.

“The word ‘mānuka’ comes from our Maori reo (language) and a precious taonga (treasure) that we have a responsibility to honor and protect.

“We are strongly helping the UK consumer to understand that mānuka honey is a product of Aotearoa in New Zealand. These customers know from buying mānuka honey for the past 20 years that mānuka is a Maori word originating from Aotearoa in New Zealand and that is what makes it so unique.

Mānuka honey comes from bees feeding on pollen from the Leptospermum scoparium plant known as “mānuka” in New Zealand and “tea tree” in Australia.

New Zealand’s mānuka honey exports are worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year and are expected to reach $1 billion by 2028.

Mānuka honey intended for export must be tested to ensure that it meets a government-regulated definition for honey derived from the mānuka plant.

The definition is composed of a combination of four chemical markers derived from nectar and a DNA marker from mānuka pollen. The combination of markers allows the industry to separate mānuka honey from other types of honey and identify the honey as monofloral or multifloral mānuka honey.

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