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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 9 June 2011
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Trade marks are a form of IP protection, which help differentiate a new fruit variety and extend its commercial rights in the market. Here, Prevar CEO Brett Ennis explains the importance of trade marks in adding value to a new variety and how they extend IP protection beyond the life of a plant variety right.

Teaching points

  • Have students research more about trade marks on the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office website (see useful link below).
  • Discuss how trade marks help protect consistency of a product around the world.
  • Discuss how trade marks can add value to a new variety in the market. How can they enhance or extend the commercial success of a new variety?

Useful link

Learn more about intellectual property and the value of trade marks on the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office website.

Transcript

Brett Ennis (Prevar)
Trade marks are used as a form of intellectual property capture, and they help us differentiate one variety from another. They also help us give the variety some personality and help it to be differentiated and recognised by consumers and the marketplace, and more recently, trade marks have been used in the fresh fruit industry.

So access to a trade mark as a form of intellectual property is also part of our commercial licensing arrangements with growers and marketers who want access to Prevar varieties. Lots of apples and pears available to consumers, and we need to stand up and be noticed amongst the wide choice that consumers have, and a trade mark does that.

So when we protect a variety with a plant variety right, we give it a variety name or a denomination, but when we come to license that variety, we grant the rights to grow that new variety, but we also grant rights to access the trade mark and to exploit that trade mark in the marketplace.

The other good thing about a trade mark is it can extend the commercial arrangement for a new variety. As your plant variety right expires after a period of time, that variety becomes available to plant by others who might not necessarily have had early access or early licence rights. However, when you have a trade mark which you have to renew in New Zealand every 10 years, you can keep renewing it and of course its value or its equity grows with time. So as the plant variety right comes closest to its expiry date, the rate at which the trade mark equity and value is growing compensates for, if you like, that lack of protection. So, in a sense, they are complementary pieces of intellectual property.

Trade marks offer Prevar the opportunity to ensure products are consistently sold in the marketplace. So what we do when we enter into licensing arrangements is we require people to grow product that meets a certain product specification, and once it meets that finished product specification, they are allowed under the licence to use that trade mark.

So in summary, a trade mark is a very powerful piece of intellectual property that we capture, and it’s important to give that trade mark personality and to work closely with our licensees to grow that personality –  that story around why this apple and pear is innovative and distinct.

Acknowledgement
Pipfruit New Zealand Inc