An Israeli court has granted a temporary injunction against one of the country’s grape growers infringing on fruit breeder Sun World International’s intellectual property (IP) rights.
The injunction prohibits the grower from continuing to market fruit produced from Sun World’s proprietary grapevine genetics.
The case relates to the illegal planting of Sugrathirteen, a proprietary black seedless grape owned by Sun World and marketed by the company and its licensees under the Midnight Beauty brand.
“We are pleased with the court’s unambiguous message that fruit breeders’ rights prevent a protected variety’s growth and proliferation without the lawful owner’s permission,” said Sun World International executive vice president David Marguleas.
“This landmark case reflects the importance of Intellectual Property in agriculture and supports a shift of attitude amongst producers towards respect for these rights.”
The verdict led to a settlement whereby the infringer agreed to uproot his vineyard and cease growing the protected fruit variety.
The Israeli Central District Court ruling held that the interests of entities making large financial investments in the development of their varieties ought to be protected.
“I think that the lack of enforcement of the protection given to the variety’s registered owners and its rights to prevent its exploitation by others in the protection period – in cases where the cause of action is allegedly proven, as it is in our case – may diminish the existing incentive for developing new varieties and inflict notably significant damage to those developers of varieties that have acquired protection,” said the judge presiding over the case.