New fruit rights group to protect varieties

Russell Soderlund

Blog author: Mr Russell Soderlund
Executive Officer, Fruit Rights Australia
0400 117 360

Russell Soderlund shares news about the new group called Fruit Rights Australia that aims to help growers understand more about proprietary fruit varieties.

A group of leading deciduous tree fruit variety managers have come together in a new association to be known as Fruit Rights Australia Incorporated (FRA).

The main purpose of FRA is to educate Australian fruit growers about the advantages of proprietary fruit varieties and the obligations that are associated with entering into grower agreements or non-propagation agreements for such varieties.

“It all starts with consumers,” says Mr Rowan Little of Montague Fresh, and President of FRA. “Consumers want new products that are better to eat or have other qualities that may appeal to them.”

“Plant breeders around the world work for years to develop such varieties. The varieties are then brought into Australia by the nurseries or other groups who want to produce this ‘next generation’ fruit. All parties work under agreements and the rights embodied under these agreements need to be protected to ensure that we keep the ‘new variety pipeline’ open,” adds Rowan.

Graham Fleming, Managing Director of Graham’s Factree and a the founding members of FRA says, “Fruit Rights Australia will seek to educate growers about the requirements for growing and marketing proprietary varieties. We want growers to understand that the privilege of growing such varieties comes with some obligations. These obligations relate to matters such as the payment of royalties to the breeder, not illegally propagating the variety and other planting disciplines.”

Garth Swinburn, Regional Licensing Manager from Sun World Australasia, says, “Growers are central to this process. They invest in the new variety and take most of the risk. It is not fair that a small number of individuals ‘free ride’ on the legitimate growers by illegally propagating trees or similar.”

Initially, FRA will focus on working with growers, packers and marketers to inform them of the rights and obligations associated with producing fruit of proprietary varieties. FRA will also assist its members with effective audits of orchards. It is intended that such audits would be conducted with the cooperation of growers wishing to ‘certify’ their production base by checking that their orchard records match those of the nurseries and Intellectual Property (IP) rights holders.

In time, the scope of FRA may be broadened to other tree fruit varieties, grapes and berries.

The Foundation Members of FRA Inc. are:

  • Mossmont Nursery Pty Ltd
  • Graham’s Factree Pty Ltd
  • Montague Fresh
  • Sun World Australasia
  • QFM Variety Management Pty Ltd


By |March 25th, 2014|News, Varieties and rootstock|

About the Author:

APAL is an industry representative body and not-for-profit membership organisation that supports Australia’s commercial apple and pear growers.