Rooibos IP innovation attracts international attention

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has been invited to deliver a keynote address at this year's 56th General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, after the extensive trademarks and patents protecting two South African botanical treasures, Rooibos and Honeybush, caught the attention of the international community.

The innovative use of Rooibos and Honeybush in skin care and health products and in wine making have led to patented and trademarked technologies that help to ensure long-term economic growth for developed and developing nations.

Ernest du Toit, a director of the SA Rooibos Council, said: "Rooibos and Honeybush were specifically singled out as South African treasures since they are both endemic to this country and are among the most widely commercially cultivated botanical species originating in South Africa with more than 300 trademarks and 20 patents to their names."

Rooibos and Honeybush are also regarded as game changers in the alcoholic beverage industry in South Africa. Red Dawn IP Holdings - owned by Audacia Wines and KWV - has developed a method of preserving alcoholic beverages using indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush wood chips instead of sulphite preservatives, which has also intrigued the international IP community.

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