Zespri takes aim at counterfeit kiwis, packaging

New Zealand kiwi producer Zespri has launched an enforcement crackdown against groups in China that it accuses of using its trademarks without authorisation.

The company is working with the Shanghai Public Security Bureau on a series of raids within China that it says have revealed counterfeit copies of its packaging as well as illicit planting of its proprietary SunGold or G3 kiwi fruits, as well as counterfeits of other brands including Dole and Zespri customer GoodFarmer.

Zespri has accused Chinese company SmilingFace Ltd and directors Haoyu Gao and Xia Xue of smuggling SunGold clippings into China in order to propagate the variety in an act of biopiracy, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

SmilingFace was previously growing G3 fruit under license from Zespri, and was previously ordered to pay NZ$12m to Zespri in a case that reached New Zealand’s court of appeal. SmilingFace’s assets in New Zealand were found to be less than NZ$1,000, and the company is now asking courts in China to ratify and enforce the award.

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