Zespri calls police over kiwifruit license transfer in China

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Zespri calls police over kiwifruit license transfer in China

New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri International has reportedly called in police to investigate the transfer of Gold3 and Gold9 kiwifruit varieties into China that may have been done illegally. 

Website NZ Herald said the entity had started investigating reports that a kiwifruit license had been sold to a third party, breaching the terms limiting transfers within a country.

Zespri has passed on that evidence to police in December and an investigation is now underway, the publication reported.

"The purported sale of a licence from one jurisdiction to another by a third party is a breach of Zespri's licences and plant variety rights, and potentially could give rise to allegations of fraud or misleading conduct," Zespri was quoted as saying.

"In this case, Zespri suspects that several years ago plant material was transferred and planted in China on a relatively small scale."

Chief operating officer Simon Limmer said the company was taking the action to protect its variety rights and deter future breaches.

"Zespri's plant variety rights are important intellectual property, developed through extensive investment over many years," Limmer was quoted as saying.

"Although the plantings may be relatively small scale in this specific case, we have zero tolerance for any breaches that we identify, wherever they happen."

The company reportedly doesn't expect the investigation will have a material impact on the outlook for Gold3.


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