Fruit-breeding company Bloom Fresh announced that the South Korean Intellectual Property High Court has ruled that the company’s grape variety brands Sweet Sapphire and Black Sapphire are valid trademarks and cannot be advertised as generic grape varietal names in retail locations.
With this, the varieties and its use will belong exclusively to its licensed growers and licensed marketers.
The firm successfully demonstrated through evidence of registrations and plant breeders’ rights that the patented variety named IFG Six and the trademark Sweet Sapphire were in wide use despite the company’s ownership of the intellectual property.
Bloom Fresh has been working on securing legal support to protect their brand varieties in South Korea since 2019.
“There is high demand for the distinctive and delicious premium table grape varieties our company develops. Because we did not have plant variety rights in Korea giving them direct protection over these grape varieties, this case was imperative to providing us with means to effectively protect our intellectual property and trademark rights,” says CEO Kenneth Avery.
Sweet Sapphire and Black Sapphire grapes are renowned for their sweetness, unique flavor, and aroma, with an unusual long shape with dimpled ends.
They have been customer favorites for nearly two decades in South Korea. Unfortunately, these grapes began entering the South Korean market as generic grapes, and not as the branded varietal it is.
“Bloom Fresh’s customers look for our branded table grapes whenever they shop for produce since they know that our trademark ensures quality. Utilizing a generic name or term dilutes our brand, putting customers at risk for purchasing grapes that don’t hold our high-quality standards,” Avery adds.