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Leading fruit breeders announce cooperation; aim to stem growing IP infringement

Four of the world’s top fruit breeders will cooperate in stopping ongoing attempts to appropriate proprietary plant material and infringe their Intellectual Property rights, representatives of the firms announced here today during the inaugural Global Grape Summit.

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 suspected fruit mislabeled, counterfeit and/or infringing on its members’ plant variety rights, trademark rights and 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 United Kingdom 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.

“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,” the founding directors of The Breeders Alliance noted in a joint statement. “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,” they added.

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.

About Sun World Innovations

Sun World Innovations is the genetics, breeding and licensing arm of Sun World International, LLC. Based in California, Sun World Innovations was formed to drive growth of fruit breeding, varietal development, licensing, agricultural technologies and international investments. It has a network of licensed partner growers and maintains offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, Israel, and South Africa. Their nominated Breeders Alliance director is Sun World Innovations President David Marguleas.

About SNFL

SNFL Group is owner of the Sheehan Genetics LLC varieties, bred by the late Tim Sheehan in California. Sheehan has developed about 20 top commercial varieties, which are now extensively licensed throughout the table grape industry worldwide. SNFL also established the Grape Genesis breeding programme based in Murcia, Spain, which focuses on new and innovative table grape varieties to meet the needs of today’s consumers and retailers. SNFL Group has offices in Spain, Chile, South Africa, Australia, California and the UK. SNFL Group Chairman, Duncan Macintyre, is the SNFL appointed board member for The Breeders Alliance Company Ltd.

About IFG®

International Fruit Genetics, LLC (IFG®) is a global company dedicated to the breeding of new fruit varieties, including table grapes and sweet cherries.  Headquartered in Bakersfield, California, the company has developed and patented over 50 new varieties since its founding in 2001.  A hallmark of the company is to create varieties that taste good. The company actively manages the licensing, technical support, quality and branding for the entire life of the variety and associated patent / plant breeder rights. Additionally, the company has licensed production in 14 countries, and its fruit is actively marketed in over 25 countries.  IFG CEO, Andy Higgins, is the IFG appointed board member for The Breeders Alliance Company Ltd.

About Grapa Varieties Ltd

Grapa Varieties Ltd is a global family business that specializes in breeding and commercializing table grape varieties. Grapa was founded by Mr. Shachar Karniel, a farmer and breeder, for the benefit of farmers with the goal to create timeless table grape varieties that farmers love to grow, and consumers love to eat. Grapa commercializes the ARRA™ table grape varieties on 6 continents and in 24 countries worldwide. Grapa is dedicated to supplying each licensed grower with the support they need and to protecting the varieties’ IP Rights through legal means. Grapa continues to expand to new regions and to develop new varieties. Grapa CEO, Rafi Karniel, is the Grapa appointed board member for The Breeders Alliance Company Ltd.

Contact: Duncan Macintyre (SNFL), , +44 (7967) 829878