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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dawkins

UMF Members Call for Review of Trademark Funding

Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) members have called on the Board and management of the association to have greater transparency and accountability around their part in funding of New Zealand’s ‘Manuka Honey’ trademark bid.

The UMFHA AGM was held in Rotorua on June 28, a day prior to the Apiculture New Zealand conference, where Russell Berry, director of Arataki Honey, presented five motions, of which three were carried, one amended and carried and another narrowly voted down.

Berry believes members of the UMFHA are not being well informed of goings on pertaining to the Association’s relationship with ‘Manuka Honey’ trademark efforts. Following the meeting he was hopeful that, if the motions passed were carried out as agreed, then the membership would be better placed to understand the goings-on of the association.

One motion agreed to was a review of UMFHA’s governance, with Berry noting that the Board has overseen funding and, in some cases, management of, trademark defeats in UK and New Zealand which he described as “disastrous”, which required accountability. Another pertained to making it known to members what funding the Association has made to Te Pitau Ltd, Mānuka Charitable Trust and Mānuka Honey Appellation Society, the three groups carrying out the, thus far, unsuccessful trademark applications. Plus any future obligations to the groups.

Greater transparency around funding of science projects, and the value of any patents or patent applications owned or licensed by UMFHA was also agreed to.

Another motion to form a committee to investigate the whole plan to protect ‘Manuka Honey’, whose findings could then be approved by members, was rejected.

Following the AGM, acting CEO Campbell Naish said meeting the requirements of the various motions would be a priority and, going forward, improving communications between board, management and the members would be a consideration.

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