Rooibos Trademark Rules in Place

Department of Trade and Industry

Protection on the use of the term “Rooibos” as a trademark is now in effect.

The final notice was published in Government Gazette 36807.

It was published in terms of the Merchandise Marks Act of 1941.

The proposed prohibition was published for comment in Gazette 36637 in July 2013.

The South African Rooibos Council had requested the trade and industry department to introduce the prohibition.

The request applies to the following marks:

•    Rooibos
•    Red Bush
•    Rooibostee
•    Roobos Tea
•    Rooitee
•    Rooibosch

The notice contains an annexure setting out the terms in which the mark “Rooibos” can only be used.

“The name ROOIBOS can only be used to refer to the dry product, infusion or extract that is 100% pure Rooibos - derived from Aspalathus linearis and that has been cultivated or wild-harvested in the geographic area as described in this application”.

The rules do allow for Rooibos to be blended with teas, infusions and other blends.

However, a blended product can only be referred to as Rooibos if Rooibos is the main ingredient.

If Rooibos is not the main ingredient, then the term “Rooibos blend” can apply as long as “Rooibos provides a distinctive character to the product”’.

Sabinet Cape Town Office