Zespri SunGold

Zespri has been granted Key Trademark Protection Status in China, bolstering its ability to fight copyright infringement in the country.

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Bureau approved the protection on 10 January, making Zespri the first New Zealand company, and only fruit brand to receive greater protection against trademark violations.

Michael Jiang, Zespri’s general manager Greater China, said the protection was recognition of the work Zespri had done to establish its brand in China.

“This is a strong acknowledgement of Zespri’s high profile among foreign brands in China as well as our strong market share and our positive corporate reputation in one of our most important markets,” Jiang said.

“This recognition also reflects the challenges Zespri is facing with counterfeiting in China, including with the unauthorised growing of our Zespri SunGold kiwifruit variety there, and is another demonstration of the support we’ve received from Chinese authorities.”

By acquiring this status, Zespri will have access stronger legal and administrative tools to fight the challenges to intellectual property. Additionally, the company can now take legal action against brands using similar names and those using packaging designs which copy Zespri’s, as well as allowing action against companies using the Zespri name for product categories outside of fresh fruit.

While the status has been afforded by the Shanghai government, the updated list of protected brands has been circulated throughout China with a request that other provinces and cities give priority to protecting the protected brands.

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Bureau is also set to coordinate with other local regulators to support Zespri’s brand.

“This is a key milestone for Zespri in Shanghai and a crucial step towards achieving nationwide recognition,” Jiang added.

“Zespri remains committed to ensuring our brand and our IP are protected so consumers can continue to have that trust, and this is another step we are delighted to be taking. We thank the Chinese Government for its continued support.”