Legal

Italian customs intercept illegally grown proprietary table grapes

Italian customs authorities blocked an illegally grown shipment of grapes from Egypt en route to the Netherlands this past June.

The grapes were of a variety developed by Grapa called Early Sweet but the grower was producing the fruit without the company's permission. The detained goods were subjected to a DNA test, carried out with the support of Grapa's legal representative in Italy, Giacomo Moleri.

The DNA results revealed that the cargo contained a shipment of Early Sweet grapes that was due to enter the market fraudulently.

The Court of Ravenna subsequently granted approval for the seizure and destruction of the illegally commercialized Early Sweet.

The importer was also reported by the customs authorities to the Italian Public Prosecutor, and consequently, a file was opened and is currently in the pre-trial investigation phase.

"Customs protection is an important mechanism for the enforcement of IP rights," Moleri said.

"The recent case before the Customs of Ravenna is a confirmation of how effective the cooperation with Customs is in preventing infringing products from entering the EU market; it is noteworthy that also the importer could be considered responsible for the infringement."

Moleri said that this should call for a more careful selection of the source of supply for mass-market retailers and wholesalers.

"The only way to ensure that consumers enjoy safe and quality produce is if it becomes common practice for every link in the supply chain to recognize that trusted legal growers and marketers are the baseline for sourcing produce," he said.

Protecting Grapa's IP rights by taking action against illegal production and distribution of proprietary varieties is a necessary step to safeguard the IP assets as well as its licensed producers.

Rafi Karniel, CEO of Grapa said: "We are pleased with the outcome of yet another case of illegal production being halted, and appreciate, once again, the collaboration and effort of the Italian authorities with whom we have worked alongside for many years now."

"Grapa will always continue to combat intellectual property infringement by acting against the unauthorized trading and production of our varieties."

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