A move to discontinue a High Court Appeal by a New Zealand group could signpost an opportunity for a new chapter in Manuka’s history in which greater collaboration between the New Zealand and Australian Manuka Honey Industries can flourish.
“This is a win for everyone because it means we can bring a greater focus to working together,” said Beekeeper and Founder of Australia’s Manuka Michael Howes.
“Spending money and time working cooperatively is clearly mutually beneficial to both Australia and New Zealand. We look forward to continuing to build the Australian Manuka Honey industry and we are confident that we can again join forces with New Zealand to bring this powerful medicinal honey to the world.”
The New Zealand Manuka Honey Appellation Society (MHAS) recently discontinued their High Court appeal in the United Kingdom, which means the previous 2021 UK IPO ruling in Australian beekeepers’ favour stands and there is no restraint or trademark on Manuka naming rights. MHAS has also withdrawn their application for the ‘Manuka Honey’ certification mark in the European Union.
This is a significant win for the Australian Manuka honey industry, which is forecast to be worth around $1.27 billion in annual trade by 2027. This result means Australian Manuka honey producers can sell their products in the UK and Europe under the globally recognised ‘Manuka’ name.
There is a growing demand for Manuka honey for consumption and for use in medicinal and wellbeing products. The withdrawal of this appeal means Australian growers now have the legal right to use the word Manuka to label their products. This decision gives Australian Manuka honey producers greater certainty for Manuka honey trade in the UK, Europe and other world markets.
Manuka is an Australian native plant, and the term Manuka honey has long been used in Australia to describe this unique medicinal honey. There are over 80 species of Leptospermum plants, all native to Australia. One of these species, Leptospermum scoparium is widespread and flourishes in southern parts of Australia; it is also found in New Zealand.
Australian and New Zealand scientists have been collaborating and working as a team to discover more about Manuka honey benefits, and how its medicinal properties advance our wellbeing for many years. Bringing this court case to a close enables more collaboration and mutual growth in the industries of both countries.