SUN WORLD INTERNATIONAL ENFORCES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN ITALY

Proprietary Vine Removal by Four Unlicensed Growers; “Protects Interests of Our Licensed Growers”

Bakersfield, Calif. – Mar. 13, 2024 – In recent months and in four separate cases, Italian courts have ruled in favor of Sun World International, LLC in litigation the company has filed against unlicensed growers for their unlawful production and sale of Sun World grape varieties.

In each of the cases, Sun World relentlessly investigated, tracked, and pursued legal action against the infringing growers, demonstrating the company’s commitment to not only its intellectual property (IP), but also the interests of its licensed growers.

A global breeding and licensing company in business for more than 40 years, Sun World has more than 200 table grape patents and PVRs worldwide, along with proprietary offerings in stone fruits, cherries, and mangos. Sun World’s varieties are licensed to growers in 22 countries.

“Sun World works vigorously worldwide to enforce its intellectual property,” said Michael Stimson, General Counsel and Vice President of Intellectual Property, 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.”

Sun World filed four separate infringement lawsuits in the Italian courts against the four unlicensed growers. In these cases:

• Four growers in Apulia and Basilicata had unauthorized and unlawful plantings of Sun World’s proprietary varieties Sugrathirtyfive, Sugranineteen, Sugrathirteen and Sugraone.
• Sun World successfully used evidence gathered by drone surveillance to convince an Italian court to issue an ex parte order for a court-appointed expert to confirm infringement.
• 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.
• In the cases that the infringers refused to settle, courts ordered the defendants to pay Sun World’s court costs, attorney fees and damages.
• Courts ordered vine removal by the defendants, and settlement agreements with Sun World also required 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,” Mr. Stimson said. “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.”

About Sun World
Sun World International is a global variety development and licensing business. The California-based company has a global network of licensed growers and marketers and maintains offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, Israel, and South Africa. In 2023, Sun World launched a global marketing campaign for its iconic AUTUMNCRISP® brand seedless green grapes. This effort, anticipated to be the largest-ever for a branded grape, is designed to drive demand and increase revenue for the company’s international network of licensees. More information about Sun World is available at www.sun-world.com.