International Fruit Genetics, Bakersfield, Calif., is protecting its varieties, including Sweet Sapphire, against infringement in China. ( Courtesy International Fruit Genetics )

Fruit breeder International Fruit Genetics, Bakersfield, Calif., is taking steps to protect its proprietary grape varieties from intellectual property theft in China.

The company has monitored varieties in China, and plans to eliminate illegal plantations from growing and trading its varieties in China. International Fruit Genetics (IFG) has appointed the Baker McKenzie FenXun Joint Operation Office to “carry out enforcement activities against the alleged infringers before the competent authorities in China,” according to a news release.

IFG has registered trademarks for its varieties in English and Chinese, including the Tian Mi Lan Bao Shi trademark, the counterpart of Sweet Sapphire, a popular variety in China.

“In response to IFG's administrative complaints, a local agriculture authority in Jiangsu Province has imposed administrative fines for the illegal promotion of an IFG variety; and a local natural resources authority in Shaanxi Province has ordered a grower in its jurisdiction to cease the illegal propagation and trading of budwoods of an IFG variety,” according to the release.

Through the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants and existing laws in China, IFG will continue to undertake legal actions.

“IFG also looks forward to a greater respect of its legitimate rights in China,” according to the release. “IFG greatly values the Chinese market and will continue its efforts in providing high-quality fruits to Chinese customers.”

IFG varieties include Sweet Sapphire, Sugar Crisp, Sweet Flavors and Sweet Joy.

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