Sun World International Enforces Intellectual Property in Italy; Michael Stimson Details



Sun World International Enforces Intellectual Property in Italy; Michael Stimson Details


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BAKERSFIELD, CA - Sun World International has achieved four major wins over the past few months as Italian courts have ruled in favor of the supplier in litigation the company filed against unlicensed growers unlawfully producing and selling its grape varieties.

Michael Stimson, General Counsel and Vice President of Intellectual Property, Sun World International

“Sun World works vigorously worldwide to enforce its intellectual property,” said Michael Stimson, General Counsel and Vice President of Intellectual Property at Sun World International. "We continually monitor table grape growing regions and table grapes in consumer markets around the globe for potential infringement cases. As a result, through private and court-ordered investigations, we identified Sun World’s proprietary vines in four fields owned by unlicensed growers and, after a thorough investigation, pursued groundbreaking litigation against them.” 

In each of the four cases, Sun World investigated, tracked, and pursued legal action against the growers, demonstrating its commitment to its intellectual property (IP) and the interest of its licensed grower. According to a release, Sun World has more than 200 table grape patents and PVRs worldwide, along with proprietary offerings in stonefruits, cherries, and mangos. Its varieties are licensed to growers in 22 countries.

Italian courts have ruled in favor of Sun World International after filing lawsuits against four unlicensed growers for intellectual property infringement

Sun World filed four separate infringement lawsuits in the Italian courts against the four unlicensed growers. Some of the outcomes include:

  • One defendant was ordered to allow Sun World to conduct an audit of the defendants’ financial records
  • One defendant was barred from entering his own vineyard to prevent harvesting the infringing grapes
  • Courts ordered vine removal by the defendants, and settlement agreements with Sun World also required the removal of infringing vines

“We make significant investments in the development of each of our unique and proprietary varieties, taking more than a decade and significant financial resources to develop a new variety, and we are pleased with the courts’ decisions to uphold our IP,” added Stimson. “Sun World follows a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against infringement, pursuing each and every case it becomes aware of. So, while each of these infringing plantings were relatively small, the largest no more than 10 hectares, Sun World nonetheless pursued these cases to completion, through removal of the infringing plants. We hope these decisions send a clear message to any grower who infringes upon our IP: We will find you; we will pursue legal action against you, and we will prevail.”

To read more about these cases, click here.

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Companies in this Story


Sun World

Sun World International, LLC was founded in the mid-1970s and today operates as a global variety development and…