January 24, 2022
PR: Australian manuka growers applaud Federal grant to defend use of term ‘manuka honey’
The Federal Government will lend financial support to future legal proceedings defending use of the term ‘manuka honey’ by Australian manuka growers, strengthening their ability to protect a valuable and growing industry.
The Australia Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) – which has been battling New Zealand’s Manuka Honey Appellation Society (MHAS) in multiple jurisdictions over attempts to trademark the term – today revealed it has received the significant grant from the Australian government.
It said the funds would be used on behalf of all Australian producers to fund legal challenges that threaten the industry and its right to describe produce as manuka honey.
AMHA chairman Paul Callander said: “This grant is significant in equipping us to better protect our industry against ill-founded attempts to monopolise the term ‘manuka honey’. Importantly, it is also evidence that the Australian government recognises the value of the domestic industry and is willing to back us against these attempts.”
The grant announcement comes just weeks after the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected an application by New Zealand producers to trademark the words ‘manuka honey’, recognising that it is a purely descriptive term for a type of honey. The MHAS is appealing that decision.
Mr Callander said: “We are disappointed that the MHAS has chosen to appeal, but are confident that we will successfully fight these proceedings, and will be aided in doing so by this grant. Manuka is an Australian native plant and the term manuka honey has long been used in Australia. Australian growers have every right to use the word to describe their produce.”
He added: “The support from the Australian government departments of Trade and Agriculture has been very strong for a long time in helping to support and grow our manuka industry.
“Some of this has been in the form of grants to develop products for the medical, pharmaceutical and health industries as well as development of elite clonal genetics to produce high grade manuka honey plantations across the country.
“Now we have the Attorney General’s office assisting in funding to allow us to continue to fight further legal engagements. This financial support not only
increases our capability to defend our industry, it also increases our resolve to do so.”