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United Exports Group Enforces its PBR in Blueberries, South African Grower in Breach of Contract

Perth/Rotterdam, November 6 – The United Exports Group has successfully stopped several shipments of exported blueberries of its CPVR-protected varieties (marketed and sold, but not packaged and branded, under the Trademark OZblu®) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands without a licence to do so. The custom enforcement action was carried out by the Dutch Customs Authority, who, upon the request of the titleholder, issued a Red Alert Notice resulting in the confiscation of two containers, with some 10 tonnes and 16 tonnes of fruit respectively.

United Exports subsequently released the shipments to its former licensee and agreed to provide an interim temporary licence. The enforcement action has generated considerable media coverage with varying takes on the dispute.

In 2016, the United Exports Group became a joint titleholder of the proprietary blueberry varieties (OZblu®) developed by the breeder Dave Mazzardis. In the current co-ownership arrangement, United Exports is responsible for the variety commercialization and return of royalties to the breeding program for further variety development. In South Africa, the majority of the OZblu® fruit production is handled at the United Exports’ farms with roughly 40 percent of the fruit volume grown by the third-party producers. Both internal and external fruit production takes place in South Africa, where, according to United Exports, its partnerships with third-party producers have been very successful.

The United Exports’ standard license agreements with growers contemplates a contract producer who leases and grows plants under licence and with the support from United Exports’ Agronomists and produces fruit for sale under the Ozblu® brands. In 2017, Charles Rossouw of Rosle Berries Pty Ltd, which is part of the Rossouw Farming Group, signed two such licence agreements with United Exports: one for a farm in the north and one for a farm in the south. In May 2020, he terminated both lice