South Korean court rules in favour of Bloom Fresh in trademark dispute

Leading fruit breeder Bloom Fresh (created by the merger of IFG and SNFL) has announced that a South Korean Intellectual Property High Court has ruled in its favour in a trademark case relating to the Sweet Sapphire and Black Sapphire varieties of grape.
Wed 22/11/2023 by Richard Wilkinson
Sweet Sapphire™

The court ruled Bloom Fresh’s grape variety brands Sweet Sapphire and Black Sapphire are valid trademarks of the company and cannot be advertised as generic grape varietal names in retail locations. 

Sweet Sapphire and Black Sapphire (trademarks of the patented variety named IFG Six) have been popular offerings in South Korea for nearly two decades. More recently the grapes began entering the South Korean market as generic grapes, and not as the branded varietal.

Bloom Fresh has been working on securing legal support to protect its brand varieties in South Korea since 2019. Bloom Fresh demonstrated to the Intellectual Property High Court through evidence of registrations and plant breeders’ rights that the patented variety named IFG Six and the trademark Sweet Sapphire were in wide use despite the intellectual property is owned by Bloom Fresh, and its use belongs exclusively to its licensed growers and licensed marketers.

Kenneth Avery, chief executive of Bloom Fresh, said:. “This is a huge win for Bloom Fresh and the entire produce industry. There is high demand for the distinctive and delicious premium table grape varieties our company develops. Because Bloom Fresh did not have plant variety rights in Korea giving direct protection over these grape varieties, this case was imperative to providing us with means to effectively protect our intellectual property and trademark rights in Korea.”

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