November 17, 2022
Giorgi Merabishvili is a Georgian honey producer who uses his intellectual property (IP) knowledge to help his cooperative of honey producers to locally market and promote their Ninotsminda Honey using the geographical indication (GI) for their region.
In 2012 Giorgi’s childhood friend gifted him a man-made beehive for his birthday and unlocked his passion for beekeeping and honey-making. With the support of his childhood friend, some self-study and a specialized course on beekeeping offered by the United Nations Development Programme, he learned about beekeeping and transformed his hobby into a business. Now Giorgi has 120 beehives and his association, KODY, has a total of 450 beehives producing between three to five tons of honey each year.
As a honey producer in his home region of Samtskhe-Javakheti, Giorgi developed a close relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture, and his contacts at the Ministry introduced him to the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (SAKPATENTI) in 2017, which was organizing a training on GIs at the time. He started to participate in more trainings on the subject offered by SAKPATENTI, including ones organized by the Georgian National Intellectual Property Training Center (NIPTC), which is one of the WIPO Academy’s established IP training institutions (IPTIs). The WIPO Academy IPTIs are self- sustaining training centers that are established at the national and regional levels, to support the response to local demand for IP training and skills-building in a scalable and cost-effective way. The Georgian NIPTC was established in 2018, and it provides IP professional development opportunities, works to raise public awareness of IP, and maximizes access to IP-related information to support innovators and creators.
Upon building sufficient practical knowledge on GIs through trainings he completed, he first suggested to eleven of his fellow beekeeper friends in the region to team up and develop a cooperative called KODY, through which they filed the trademark “ALPIDA” in 2019 for their honey. Following the success of their trademark registration, he suggested that they register their honey as a Georgian GI in 2020. With the support and guidance of SAKPATENTI they successfully registered their GI to help market and promote their honey which has a unique gel-like consistency, a distinct flavor and color, and unique health benefits arising from the high concentration of lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme that helps the human immune system.
IP helped us a lot with marketing the Ninotsminda Honey and building its reputation locally, which increased our sales. Also, thanks to all the demand we got for our honey, we managed to increase the price point of our product too!Giorgi Merabishvili, Ninotsminda Honey Producer
Giorgi plans to export the farm-to-table Ninotsminda Honey regionally and internationally in 2022. He currently promotes and sells the honey online through the ALPIDA website.
In his free time, Giorgi likes to tinker with microelectronics and come up with innovations for the apiculture industry as he hopes to merge his two professional journeys of beekeeping and engineering, to ultimately digitize the process of taking care of bees. Before launching his career as a beekeeper and honey producer, Giorgi used to run a home appliances company in Georgia, having studied engineering and physics at the Georgian Technical University (class of 1994). After years in the home appliances business he decided to switch careers to beekeeping once he discovered his new passion and realized his preference for producing consumer products rather than selling merchandise made by others.
My advice to anyone wishing to start a business is to study, study, and study! Knowledge is the only thing that will help you, so the more you build, the better off you will be and the better off your business will be. It is a must to have IP protection – it really is part of the process of running a business. You can’t escape it, so building your IP knowledge is key.Giorgi Merabishvili, Ninotsminda Honey Producer
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