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Trademark fight moves to apples

As the “Pink Lady” brand of apples increasingly includes those imported from other countries, particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere, Pink Lady America is reminding shoppers to look carefully at the fruit they buy to make sure that they are only purchasing apples packed under trademark quality standards.

The Pink Lady apple was developed in Australia in the 1970s. It ripens in the southern hemisphere in May and is sold in U.S. markets when local varieties are not in season. It is now also grown in the U.S. and bears fruit in the northern-hemisphere apple season.

Alan Taylor, marketing director of Pink Lady America LLC, said, “…it’s been good to see the vast majority of the domestic fruit marketed with the quality standards coming with the ‘Pink Lady’ trademark. However, it’s not good to now see some fruit being imported into the United States without the benefit of the trademark and those standards which ends up hurting the domestic growers’ efforts.”

The company is asking that consumers only buy apples that have a clearly displayed Pink Lady trademark and that they also compare the stickers on the apple to those on the store signage display. To be extra safe, consumers should make sure that the Pink Lady trademark name on the apple match up with the Pink Lady name on the display. Taylor says that, “It’s unfair to the grower and the consumer when what’s on the PLU isn’t the same as the signage because it’s not only potentially a quality issue, it may also be a trademark violation.”

Pink Lady America says that it’s unfair for other growers to take advantage of the efforts in quality growing and marketing made by genuine suppliers. Consumers lose by buying fruit of inferior quality and growers lose market share to those with the misleading labels.

The use of the Pink Lady trademark in domestic markets is free, only requiring the signing of a license that explains the brand requirements.

Source:Consumers Told to Look for ‘Pink Lady’ Stickers on Imports,” by Victoria Slind-Flor, published at Businessweek.com.

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