Four of the world’s top fruit breeders are joining forces to stop ongoing attempts to appropriate proprietary plant material and infringe their Intellectual Property rights, announced representatives of the firms at the inaugural Global Grape Summit on Wednesday.
The new organization is The Breeders Alliance Company Ltd, and its founding members are Grapa Varieties Ltd, IFG, SNFL, and Sun World Innovations.
The Breeders Alliance was created to assist its members in their separate enforcement activities by collectively monitoring and surveilling key wholesale and retail markets for the sale of fruit suspected to be mislabeled, counterfeit and/or infringing on its members’ plant variety rights, trademark rights or other proprietary interests.
Licensed production of members’ varieties emanates from most grape-producing countries with fruit distributed under license to importers and supermarkets throughout Asia, Australia, North America, Europe, the U.K. and other major markets.
Surveillance tools include market investigations in all relevant markets, a central DNA database for tracking, identifying and reporting proprietary fruit varieties, and collaborative efforts to expose nurseries, producers and commercial marketers who infringe on proprietary rights and violate Intellectual Property laws in producing and consuming countries.
Here is a joint statement by the founding directors of The Breeders Alliance:
“In recent years, our companies and others have developed and introduced many dozens of new table grape varieties with improved and distinctive flavor profiles, enhanced post-harvest qualities, extended seasonality and other desired quality attributes.
“Producers and marketers, as well as retailers and consumers, have benefited greatly from this expanded selection of better-tasting grape varieties. Unfortunately, as our new proprietary varieties assume greater visibility and bring producers and retailers more successful results, we have also witnessed an alarming increase in the theft and unauthorized planting of proprietary grapevines and the Intellectual Property rights they comprise.
Our ability to continue investing in highly capital-intensive and long-term fruit breeding programs is at risk as infringement and the sale of counterfeit fruit grows. Furthermore, we aim to protect the interests of both our bona fide licensees, who find themselves disadvantaged in the market by the activities of these unlicensed growers, and the retailers and supermarkets who might be at risk from selling fruit from illegal or unlicensed producers.
The formation of The Breeders Alliance is designed to bring leading fruit breeders together, to raise our collective consciousness and that of the entire supply chain, and to stem this illegal activity."
The organization says that member collaboration will be limited to Intellectual Property surveillance and related activities, with each member continuing to be responsible for its own licensing and enforcement activities.