Australia wins Manuka trademark battle with New Zealand
In December 2021 Australia won the legal fight with New Zealand. The Australian Manuka Association advised the following:
The Australian Manuka Honey Association is delighted to inform you the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has rejected the application by the New Zealand Manuka Honey Appellation Society (NZ MHAS) to trademark the words “Manuka honey”, recognising that it is a purely descriptive term for a type of honey and has widespread use in jurisdictions beyond New Zealand.
In reaching its decision, the IPO accepted there was significant evidence that the general public understands manuka honey is not produced exclusively in New Zealand, but rather originates from a number of places, including Australia.
This is the right decision and a fair decision. The term manuka has been used in Australia since the 1800s and the Australian industry has invested significantly for decades in manuka honey science, research and marketing. It would be deeply unfair – and financially devastating – to deny that reality.
The IPO decision is welcomed by the entire Australian industry, which extends beyond manuka producers to the thousands of individuals and organisations engaged with manuka honey through research, logistics, manufacturing and sales.
The market is forecast to be worth $1.27 billion globally by 2027 and offers vast potential for local innovation and manufacturing. Our Australian industry has fought hard to protect its rightful interests in this growing market and will continue to do so. This decision is an important one that we hope will be followed by other jurisdictions where trademark certification has been sought.