Press release, 22/10/2013

Summerglow Apiaries Welcomes Confirmation From Intellectual Property Office That UMF Brand Rating System Is Reliable Measure For Manuka                                              Honey Special Qualities

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries has welcomed news of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand's (IPONZ) confirmation in a recent decision on the registrability of certain trademarks that the UMF brand rating system is a reliable measure of Manuka Honey's special qualities.

That decision also meant that terms such as "active" and "total activity" may be inherently deceptive, is a win for those under the UMF brand umbrella.

Margaret Bennnett, co-owner of SummerGlow Apiaries who are licence holders in the UMF Honey Association, said the implications of the decision are far reaching and point consumers towards the UMF brand rating system for reliable measures of the special qualities that Manuka Honey possesses.

“This is a breakthrough decision and one which emphasises the UMF brand uses a reliable system for measuring the special qualities of Manuka Honey and there is the utmost confidence in this system for consumers,” Mrs Bennett said.

The IPONZ decision in Lee v UMF Honey Association, Inc on 11 October 2013 rejected six trademark applications, two due to their potentially misleading nature, and all due to their descriptive and non-distinctive qualities.  Importantly, IPONZ found that where manuka honeys are measured by peroxide activity or PA alone (as opposed to only non-peroxide activity or NPA) those measures are inherently unstable, which "means there is no way of knowing what the level of activity will be when the honey is sold and used". 

By contrast, the decision shows that UMF brand honey has "stable levels of antibacterial activity" (because it is based on NPA).

John Rawcliffe, General Manager of the UMF Honey ,Association,  said that  if consumers have any doubt about what they are paying for, they should go to the UMF brand for a reliable measure of the special qualities of Manuka Honey.

• The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, or IPONZ, is the body responsible for registering intellectual property rights, including trademarks, in New Zealand.
• The UMF Honey Association is an incorporated society that promotes the integrity and reliability of non-peroxide activity or NPA as a measure of the special antibacterial qualities of manuka honey.  The Association's members include beekeepers, honey producers and marketers, and make up nearly 70% of the manuka honey market in New Zealand.  The Association is also the owner of the UMF trade mark and licenses the use of that trade mark to 38 New Zealand companies.