In December, Ekland Marketing Company of California (EMCO) CAL) undertook a major initiative to enforce the intellectual property (IP) rights of strawberry variety owners, working with EU customers to block over 30 deliveries of fruit grown illegally in Egypt.
In the past three years, EMCO CAL has worked with its master licensee in Egypt to create a workable licensing system for the Egyptian strawberry industry.
However, attempts to negotiate licensing agreements with Egyptian growers had repeatedly failed.
"The failure of the Egyptian growers to respect the IP rights of the owner of the strawberry variety challenges the entire system of variety production and plant breeder rights in the EU," EMCO CAL stated. "It places legitimate firms at a competitive disadvantage and encourages plant pirating in other countries."
By the end of the 2011/12 season, more than 40 Egyptian companies had signed licensing agreements and paid the necessary fees.
"In the next few months, EMCO CAL plans to hold meetings with Egyptian growers and marketers to explain the licensing procedures for the 2012/13 season," the company said in a press release.
EMCO CAL represents the strawberry variety development programme of
the University of Florida, which accounts for over 80 per cent of Egypt's strawberry acreage.