Washington State University’s Research Foundation, which owns the new WA 38 apple, has issued an “announcement of opportunity” inviting individuals, companies, or cooperatives that are interested in managing the variety to submit proposals.
The successful applicant will have an exclusive license to manage the commercialization of the variety but will not be involved in sales and marketing of the fruit produced by WA 38 trees.
The roles of the WA 38 license holder will include contracting out the propagation of the trees to nurseries and others, sublicensing the variety to growers, managing the trademark, and collecting royalties. It will need to develop a plan for how trees of WA 38 will be marketed to growers and nurseries.
The commercialization plan was developed by the Cultivar Licensing Committee, a group formed to advise the university on the release of WSU apple varieties. The committee, whose members include WSU faculty and apple industry representatives, will evaluate applications for the WA 38 license.
The Research Foundation has filed a patent application and is in the process of selecting a name for the variety, which will be trademarked. It will also file for International Plant Variety Rights in countries around the world, although, for the time being, the foundation is only looking for entities to manage the variety in Washington. In the future, it will seek partners for managed releases in other countries, according to the announcement.
Applicants must provide WSU with a comprehensive commercial plan that ensures that all Washington growers have access to the variety. The royalty scheme will be designed to reward early adopters and provide significant long-term funding for the breeding program.
WSU will provide the license holder with a list of authorized propagators of WA 38 but expects that more propagators will be needed to meet demand for the variety.
The announcement of opportunity can be downloaded at treefruit.wsu.edu/research/. The deadline for applications is May 3, and the successful applicant will be notified on June 24. The commercialization program will be implemented as soon as the license agreement is signed on July 22.
For information, contact Tom Kelly at the WSU Research Foundation, (509) 355-1210, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.