Johannesburg - A French firm's attempt to trademark Rooibos
could have a "significant negative impact" on South Africa's exports
of Rooibos products to France, the department of trade and industry (DTI) said
"The DTI stands ready to defend South Africa's trade
and intellectual property interests vigorously," minister Rob Davies said
in a statement.
"However, the issues in this particular matter will
require an urgent assessment of the legal options to strengthen protection of
the Rooibos name in South Africa."
Davies added that this was not the first time that a foreign
company tried to "capture the intellectual property associated with
"The DTI will support the local industry to protect our
mutual trade and economic interests."
He said his department was working with the department of
agriculture, forestry and fisheries and had raised its objection with the
French Embassy in South Africa and the European Commission Delegation in
"These engagements will be further intensified to seek
an acceptable resolution to the matter," he added.
The department said Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of a
unique shrub, indigenous only to South Africa. A number of Rooibos products in
South Africa are already protected by South Africa's domestic trademark
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