KI brand bid proving a challenge

Interstate companies cashing in on the 'Kangaroo Island' tag should be prevented from using the label, producers on the island say.

The Kangaroo Island Futures Authority began a push to trademark the name of the island last year.

The authority has been discussing its options with Federal intellectual property authority IP Australia.

Chairman of a local food industry group Justin Harman says businesses on the island have worked hard to raise the island's profile and should be offered the protection of a trademark.

"Producers over here have been value adding for about 20 year and over those 20 years the value of our brand's increased significantly," he said.

"Certainly over the last five to ten years there's been different instances come up where the name is used by other businesses and so forth.

"It's a very difficult area to get a blanket coverage of the use of 'Kangaroo Island'.

"Anyone can effectively register a business name with 'Kangaroo Island' in it and have no association with the island.

"We're looking at all different options, one of which includes working with IP Australia in trademarking certainly specific industries who produce products on Kangaroo Island." Mr Harman says the fact that the name is not exclusive to the island makes it harder to restrict its use.

"There's a number of tiny little islands scattered around Australia that already have the name 'Kangaroo Island' as well as our quite large island," he said.

Mr Harman says a compromise might involve forcing those using the name on foods to disclose the origin of all the ingredients.

"Over the last six to 12 months we've been focusing on the use of the name across both the food sector and also through the tourism sector," he said.

"The current labelling laws do provide some protection but it's more about truth and labelling as far as ingredients.

"The point of origin is a slightly more difficult area to try and protect."

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