Nadorcott Protection (NCP), which owns the intellectual property (a UK Plant Breeders’ Right; UK PBR) covering the Nadorcott variety of mandarin, has contacted nine major retailers in the UK about the unauthorised sale of Tango/Tang Gold mandarins.
NCP believes that these unauthorised dealings in Tango/Tang Gold mandarins infringe the UK PBR that covers the Nadorcott mandarin.
Representatives of NCP have identified that the unauthorised sale of Tango/Tang Gold mandarins is taking place in UK Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose stores.
“Essentially Derived Variety”
The Nadorcott mandarin variety is renowned around the world for its sweetness and flavour. The Tango/Tang Gold mandarin was produced by subjecting the Nadorcott variety to irradiation. 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 fruit that is the subject of the UK PBR.
The European Union’s Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), which is the EU's highest plant variety authority, has confirmed that just two differences exist between the Nadorcott mandarin and the irradiated Tango/Tang Gold variety. In light of these findings, NCP views the Tango/Tang Gold mandarin as a dependent and ”Essentially Derived Variety” from the protected Nadorcott mandarin.
In letters sent to Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose, representatives of NCP have warned retailers of the potential risks associated with unauthorised dealings in Tango/Tang Gold mandarins in the UK.
There are on-going proceedings that will establish whether Tango/Tang Gold mandarins constitute an “Essentially Derived Variety”. Should this classification be established either by the courts in the said ongoing or further proceedings, there will be a large impact on retailers, which will potentially apply retrospectively.
NCP’s Mohamed Benbiga said, “We are immensely proud of our authentic Nadorcott mandarin. We have been clear in our view, since the launch of Tango in the European market, that Tango/Tang Gold mandarins should be classified as an Essentially Derived Variety of the protected Nadorcott variety. We will continue to take all steps necessary to vigorously defend our exclusive Nadorcott rights, as well as taking steps to prevent the unauthorised exploitation of NCP’s exclusive IP.”
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