Sun World settles with Australian grape grower after IP breach

Californian based variety development and licensing company Sun World International says it has reached settlement of a dispute with a "prominent" Australian table grape producer within the Sunraysia region. 

This follows breaches of Sun World’s intellectual property and contractual rights discovered during an audit of the grower’s property which uncovered plantings of its proprietary varieties beyond those allowed under its license with the grower.

The settlement follows admissions by the grower of having propagated proprietary varieties without authorization and in breach of its growing license with Sun World as well as infringing its registered plant breeders' rights.

The unidentified parties have agreed to settlement terms that include the removal of unauthorized vines and payments to Sun World totalling in excess of USD$220,000 (AUD$325,000).

In addition to these payments, the grower and associated entities, have committed to further undertakings acknowledging Sun World's interests. 

“Whilst pleased with our ability to draw this matter to a successful close without court action, it is unsatisfactory to have a grower acting outside of our licence terms and acting in breach of our plant breeders' rights," said Adam Knoll, Sun World’s Australia Licensing Manager.

"Our action should also demonstrate to the industry that Sun World is avidly both monitoring the market and enforcing its rights.”

Garth Swinburn, Vice President Licencing added, “To have to take any enforcement action is disappointing. However, such steps are necessary to protect not only our own business but also to protect other stakeholders’ investments both within Australia, as in this instance, and globally.”

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