[6 November/Radio NZ Rural]

Zespri has filed proceedings in the High Court in Auckland seeking an award of damages against a grower who illegally supplied the Sungold kiwifruit plants to China. Zespri is arguing the supply of the plants breached its intellectual property rights over the variety and was trademarked. The company had discovered 160 hectares of Sungold planted in China but recognises that there could be more plantings. The plantings represent an infringement of proprietary rights in China, which Zespri said it takes very seriously. The company is claiming $70 million in damages which has based on the impact the infringement has on the value of Sungold licenses in New Zealand and the loss of opportunity for the company to license the fruit in China. The company noted that no decision has been what legal action if any will be commenced in China itself.