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[Press Release] IFG Wins Landmark IP Case in China

July 23, 2023

This content has been published as provided by its author. It has only been modified from its original version to follow Produce Report editorial guidelines and for necessary website formatting.

Bakersfield, Calif., July 20, 2023 International Fruit Genetics LLC (IFG), the world’s largest table grape breeder, which boasts 48 patented table grape varieties and 10 patented sweet cherry varieties, is pleased to announce that a plant variety right infringement case in Yunnan, China, has concluded in IFG’s favor. The infringement involved IFG’s proprietary grape varietal IFG Six, sold under the trademark Sweet Sapphire (IFG variety name “IFG Six”; Chinese variety name “IFG六” and Chinese trademark “甜蜜蓝宝石”).

“This is a huge win for IFG and the entire agriculture industry. The goal with these types of legal action is never to be punitive, but to create an environment where other plant variety rights holders feel comfortable and protected. We aim to bring forward the best varieties, technical and market support to the entire industry,” said Andy Higgins, IFG CEO. “We would thank the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for their support in protecting intellectual property rights in China. We appreciate the position that they are in and their relationship with local growers. Their dedication to helping achieve success is commendable. It is vital to what we do as breeders that we pursue all IP infringements to protect not only our work, but also the investments and commitments our licensees have made to IFG genetics.”

IFG has successfully obtained plant variety rights protection for 13 of its grape varieties in China and has registered numerous trademarks, including but not limited to Sweet Sapphire, Cotton Candy and Sweet Globe.

Starting in 2020, IFG launched a series of evidence preservation and administrative complaints against infringing sales of propagation and harvested material of IFG varieties.

In Yunnan province, IFG filed a complaint against an infringer which illegally produced and sold propagation and harvested material for IFG Six (sold under the trademark “甜蜜蓝宝石”). The local Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) acknowledged the infringement and imposed significant administrative fines against the infringer.

IFG aims to eliminate the illegal plantations of and unauthorized trading in IFG varieties in China to protect the legitimate rights and interests of IFG and its licensed growers, marketers, and distributors worldwide.

IFG intends to continue proactively seeking cooperation with authorities in China to combat infringement activities and safeguard the commercial interests of itself and its licensees. IFG greatly values the Chinese market and will continue its efforts to provide high-quality fruits to Chinese customers.

About IFG

Headquartered in Bakersfield, California, USA, IFG is the world’s largest premium fruit-breeding company. Founded in 2001, the company is internationally recognized for its top quality, non-GMO fruit varieties in the table grape, cherry and raisin industries that were pioneered by the company’s co-founder and former lead plant breeder, world-renowned fruit scientist Dr. David Cain. Following Dr. Cain’s retirement, the team is now led by Dr. Chris Owens. IFG patents and licenses its varieties to worldwide marketers and growers, with licensees in 18 countries and its fruit actively marketed in over 30 countries. For more information, visit

Image: IFG


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