Australian Beekeepers Win Manuka Honey Trademark Battle in Britain
Manuka honey is one of New Zealand’s biggest exports and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Highly sought after and prized for its antibacterial properties, the honey can sell for between $300 and 500 per kilogram.
Manuka honey is made when the bees forage the Leptospermum tea plant.
Since 2018, the Australian Manuka Honey Association representing Australia honey producers (A) and the Manuka Honey Appellation Society, representing New Zealand producers (NZ) have been fighting over the “Manuka Honey” name.
Below is a summary of the bitter row and long-running trademark battle:
A: The Leptospermum tea plant is native to both A and NZ, not just NZ. Naturally, we have the right to use the term “Manuka honey”.
NZ: A is not allowed to use “Manuka” as it is a Maori term, which has its roots in New Zealand. It is about indigenous rights that we must honour and protect, just like how champagne is native to France and protected as such.
A: The name Manuka has been used to describe the tree in Tasmania, Australia since the 1880s. We have invested significantly for decades in Manuka honey science, research and marketing and have more than 5000 pages of info to defend our use of the term Manuka honey in court.
NZ: It is misleading to use the label on honey not produced in New Zealand. We are trademarking the name “Manuka” for our honey.
A: “Manuka honey” cannot be trademarked because it is purely a customary term used to describe the plant source of the honey product.
UK Intellectual Property Office’s verdict in December 2021: There is no evidence that the public believes Manuka honey exclusively originates from New Zealand.
Australia honey producers’ win in UK is a blow to New Zealand producers who feel that the ruling is an insult to Māori and their culture.
New Zealand producers have also sought to trademark the term in the United States, Europe, New Zealand and China. However, no region has yet to agree to register the trademark.
Other Related Pages on Australian Beekeepers Win Manuka Honey Trademark Battle in Britain
1. Why does Manuka honey command a much higher price than other types of honey? Find out in: The Miraculous Manuka Honey.
2. What is the real deal about UMF Manuka honey? My thoughts and take on the subject in UMF Manuka Honey And Its Big Price Tag
3. Confused by the activity ratings of Manuka UMF, Active, Total Activity, MGO, and NPA? Read: Manuka UMF and Other Activity Terms Explained
4. Did you know that Manuka honey was once classified as a low grade honey and fed to the cattle? Find out more in: Manuka Honey as Medicine.
5. If you are residing in Singapore, visit e-store Bee Healthy and check out the sale of Manuka honey there. Bulk orders prices available too.
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