Nadorcott Protection is determined to protect its rights in its dispute against Tang Gold/Tango. “We took the opportunity of Fruit Attraction to gather all the Nadorcott partners worldwide to inform about our strategy,” said Mohamed Benbiga, CEO of NCP (Paris) and chairman of the Morocco Association of Nadorcott Producers (APNM).
“Essentially Derived Variety”
The award-winning Nadorcott mandarin variety is renowned around the world for its sweetness and flavour. The Tang Gold/Tango mandarin was produced by subjecting the Nadorcott variety to irradiation, while retaining the essential characteristics of Nadorcott. Under the relevant legislation, the owner of a UK PBR can prevent unauthorised third parties from dealing in varieties that are “Essentially Derived Varieties” of the variety that is the subject of the UK PBR.
Recent developments align with Nadorcott Protection’s position
“Time has confirmed what Nadorcott Protection has maintained since the beginning within the dispute against Tang Gold/Tango,” said Mohamed Benbiga, who highlights the adoption by International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) of the Explanatory Notes on Essentially Derived Varieties on 27 October 2023. These Explanatory Notes confirm that varieties created by mutation of a single parent variety retaining the essential characteristics of the initial varieties should be considered an Essentially Derived Variety, regardless of the number and type of differences between varieties that arise from the act of derivation. And those differences, even if they refer to essential characteristics, do not exclude a variety from being an EDV.
In addition to this very recent development, Mohamed Benbiga also reminds that the European Union’s Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) confirmed, in two decisions issued by its Board of Appeal, that (2016) just two differences exist between the Nadorcott mandarin and the irradiated Tango/Tang Gold variety, and (2023) the Nadorcott plant variety right is valid (as it had already stated the said office in two other occasions).
Mutation by radiation of material received for scientific purposes only. “All the problem started many years ago when the University of California irradiated and exploited with commercial purposes material of Nadorcott Variety that the University received for scientific purposes only” Mohamed Benbiga states. The 2023 decision of the CPVO reads in this regards as follows: “The letters exchanged […] also show that the material was given for “research purposes”. […] The correspondence exchanged […] does not contain a single reference to a commercial exploitation of the variety. […] In the case of Nadorcott, it is clear that, in 1988, the Moroccan INRA had the attitude to share its knowledge and material with other interested institutions for scientific purposes. UCR subsequently benefited from the Nadorcott material by developing the Tang Gold variety.”
Actions to protect the Nadorcott variety
Nadorcott Protection (NCP), organization which owns the intellectual property (a UK Plant Breeders’ Right; UK PBR) covering the multiple award-winning Nadorcott variety of mandarin is determined to take action to protect their rights over the said variety. In this line, has contacted several major retailers in the UK about the unauthorised sale of Tango, Tang Gold mandarins. In letters sent to them NCP warned of the potential risks associated with unauthorised dealings in Tango/Tang Gold mandarins in the UK. Nadorcott Protection manifests that it will continue to take all steps necessary to vigorously defend the rights of the Nadorcott variety and to prevent the unauthorised exploitation of NCP’s exclusive IP in all appropriate jurisdictions.