AIDF Project 1 – AWA Program

AIDF Project #1; Australian Wild Abalone program (AWA®) – 2015/16

This AIDF project enabled the Australian Wild Abalone® Program to continue to operate for 12 months after the closure of the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (Seafood CRC) in June 2015. The key outcomes of this project were:

  1. AWA® exporters collaboratively funded a stand at Seafood Expo Asia in Hong Kong
  2. Key relationships with China Cuisine Association 9 were consolidated as a basis for ongoing activities and promotions in China
  3. The AWA® Young Chef Ambassador program was established which added to the AWA® library of innovative dishes and cuisines as well as the AWA® Chef Network
  4. The AWA® Tasmanian Gourmet Adventure was created providing opportunities for influential chefs and F&B Managers to learn where AWA® product is harvested and how it makes its journey to diners
  5. A comprehensive digital presence was created in China upon which the AWA® program and individual exporters could utilise (China based website plus Weibo and WeChat accounts established and populated with AWA® content, linked to Australian AWA® site)

A comprehensive report outlining in more detail the activities mentioned above may be found here.

While the national abalone levy was not adopted by the abalone industry following a national ballot in December 2019, Abalone Council Australia has maintained the key AWA® website, and the AWA® Certification Trade Mark. These AWA® assets have been maintained because AWA® certified abalone processors continue to utilise the AWA® Website and AWA® Trade Mark.

AWA Website

The AWA® website was created in 2013 and has been the cornerstone of the AWA® Program. It is a visually rich and highly detailed website with a unique design aesthetic and may be viewed in four languages – English, Simple and Traditional Chinese and Japanese. It covers the main attributes of the AWA® program and includes many high-quality images and videos as well as a great deal of explanatory text. It features 15 abalone export companies that have been approved as licensed AWA® exporters and provides weblinks directly to their company websites. The content on this website is currently being reviewed and updated.

AWA® Certification Trademark

Currently, 15 abalone export companies remain licensed to use the AWA® Trademark on their packaging and labelling. The AWA® Industry Trademark has gained considerable status in key Asian markets and despite no “in market” AWA® activities since 2016, is still supported by importers and exporters as a worthwhile initiative. A recent examination of exporter websites reveals that at least half of the 15 companies are still using the AWA® logo on their packaging and/or websites. Additionally, exporters are still requesting AWA® Registration Certificates so they can place them in a prominent location within their export premises.

Processors authorised to use the AWA® Certification Trademark have agreed to comply with the “Rules on the use and administration of the Australian Wild Abalone Certification Trade Mark May 2015”. This document may be found here.

ACA has recently renewed the registration of the AWA® Industry Certification Mark with the Australian Trademarks Office for a further 10 year period to 12 July 2030.

While the AWA® Certification Trademark provides IP protection within the domestic market, it has limited applicability in overseas markets. The best way to protect an industry brand is to register it in the key markets that our product is sold into. If an overseas entity tries to use our AWA® logo to sell substitute (fake) product, we then have the option to take legal action within that country. International registration is all about protecting the brand – there is little point in developing a brand if it is not protected against fraud.

As a first step in this process, ACA have successfully registered the AWA® Certification Trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO – WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. WIPO is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states. The AWA® Trademark is registered and the next renewal deadline is 24 September 2028.

For optimal protection of AWA® IP, it is ultimately preferable however to have the AWA® Trademark registered in each separate market jurisdiction.

As of June 2021, ACA have successfully achieved formal registration the AWA® Trademark in Japan.

Formal registration of the AWA® Trademark in Singapore is well progressed and hopefully will be achieved by September 2021.

For more information about the AWA® program please go to the following weblink: