On April 20, 2016, CMPR obtained an across-the-board victory on behalf of International Fruit Genetics, LLC (“IFG”) in a case involving termination of licensing agreements for proprietary table grape varieties. The United States District Court, Central District of California, granted summary judgment in favor of IFG, holding that IFG validly terminated the parties’ licensing agreements based upon defendants’ contractual violations. The court also denied defendants’ separate motion for summary judgment on defendants’ counterclaims. International Fruit Genetics, LLC v. P.E.R. Asset Management Trust, et al., (Case No. 14-5273).
IFG develops and owns proprietary hybrid table grape varieties in the United States and around the world. After developing a new grape variety, IFG applies for patents and other intellectual property registrations for the new variety in the U.S. and other countries. IFG licenses its proprietary grape varieties to authorized growers around the world under a licensing program designed to strictly control the propagation of its proprietary plant material and protect IFG’s intellectual property.
Pursuant to three licensing agreements with IFG, defendants were permitted to test and make limited plantings of certain IFG grape plants in South Africa. However, the agreements prohibited defendants from propagating IFG grape plants. After learning that defendants had wrongfully propagated those plants, and had illegally imported other IFG plant material into South Africa, IFG gave notice terminating the parties’ agreements. In July 2014, IFG filed this lawsuit to confirm the validity of its termination based upon defendants’ contractual violations and other wrongful conduct. The CMPR team of John Dawson, Rick O’Hare, and Kim Corcoran co-authored the winning briefs.
If you have any questions regarding intellectual property issues, please do not hesitate to contact John Dawson, head of the CMPR Intellectual Property Group (tel: 707-526-4200; email:firstname.lastname@example.org.)