NatureSeal Companies has announced an agreement with New Zealand fruit processor Fresh Slice New Zealand granting the latter permission to purchase from a range of products covered by the former's patent.
The patent, entitled 'Methods for Preserving Fresh Fruit', is jointly held with the United States Department of Agriculture, and covers the range of NatureSeal products.
NatureSeal is also engaged in similar actions in Australia, North America, the UK and Europe, and anticipates further settlements will be reached soon.
President of the NatureSeal Companies, William Barrie, said: "The company has invested a large amount of time and money in R&D and, as such, is committed to protecting its intellectual property rights against manufacturers, processors or other unauthorised users of products which infringe the NatureSeal Companies' patent.
"The scope of the patent means that third parties cannot use the method for preserving fresh fruit, as set out in the patent, unless they use NatureSeal products, otherwise they will be infringing the patent."
He added: "It is clearly important that we bring clarity to the situation. We have many loyal and reputable customers with whom we have partnered for several years. These companies respect the intellectual property owned by the NatureSeal Companies and recognise that the NatureSeal products have become the enabling technology for an entire category of fresh cut fruits and vegetables."
NatureSeal products are used around the world to maintain the quality and shelf life of fresh convenience products such as sliced apples and other fresh cut fruit and vegetables. NatureSeal preserves the texture, flavour, appearance, crispness, and colour of fresh fruit, particularly the exposed skin.