Zespri last week officially opened its Mount Maunganui head office as part of the kiwifruit industry’s marquee Momentum 2020 conference.
The recognition, granted in January by the Shanghai Intellectual Property Bureau, is part of Zespri’s efforts to better protect the investment and IP of the New Zealand industry in China, as work to clamp down on unauthorised SunGold plantings continues.
“The new protected status is a strong acknowledgement of Zespri’s high profile among foreign brands in China, as well as our strong market share and our positive corporate reputation,” Zespri general manager Greater China, Michael Jiang says in the monthly Kiwiflier newsletter.
“This recognition also reflects the challenges Zespri is facing with counterfeiting in China, including with the unauthorised growing of our Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit variety there, and is another demonstration of the support we’ve received from Chinese authorities.”
Key brand protection status is designed to strengthen the legal and administrative tools available to approved companies to fight the challenges to intellectual property — efforts which we have been incredibly well supported by the Chinese Government.
It also means Zespri will now be able to take legal action against brands using similar names and those using packaging designs which copy Zespri’s. It will also allow it to take action against companies using the Zespri name for product categories outside of fresh fruit — an action which was previously unavailable.
The Shanghai Intellectual Property Bureau will also proactively coordinate with other local regulators to support Zespri’s brand.
“This is a key milestone for Zespri in Shanghai and a crucial step towards achieving nationwide recognition, and is the result of significant investment by Zespri and in efforts to build the brand in China,” Jiang says.
Chief grower and alliances officer Dave Courtney says the Shanghai key trademark recognition will also give Zespri the means to take action against people trying to use Zespri copycat brands to sell Zespri’s SunGold variety grown without authorisation — a key focus for Zespri.
“The work to deal with the unauthorised SunGold plantings is challenging but progressing well.
“We’re in the process of identifying targets to launch legal action against and we hope to be able to do so soon. Commercially we’ve had strong cooperation from our partners in China while our efforts have been well supported by the New Zealand Government who we are working closely alongside.”