MHAS Withdraws Appeal, Circles the Wagons
The group representing the New Zealand honey industry’s bid to gain exclusive use of the term “mānuka honey”, The Mānuka Honey Appellation Society (MHAS), is rethinking its legal approach.
MHAS recently withdrew both their appeal to an unfavourable December 2021 United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office ruling, which was to be heard in January, as well as their application to the European Union for similar certification trademark protections. An application to New Zealand’s courts is still to be heard in 2023.
The withdraws are in the name of devising a new approach to mānuka honey protection according to MHAS spokesman John Rawcliffe, who has indicated they will be lodging a fresh appeal in both the UK and EU with more detailed information. He says they remain “absolutely committed” to the end goal of achieving certification trademark and/or geographic indicators.
Last month Rawcliffe reaffirmed the commitment of the New Zealand honey industry, through the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association, to fund ongoing legal battles. Those battles look set to be drawn out for even longer now, while in the mean time Australian honey producers will continue to market manuka honey internationally.