Six major points will need to be considered when new varieties are commercialized, says Washington State University apple breeder Dr. Bruce Barritt:
1. Evaluate commercial potential. Is there commercial value to the new variety? It may be a niche variety and do well in local markets, but not all are destined to be a “blockbusters.”
2. Maximize value of intellectual property. Are restrictions on variety use needed to maximize income? Should the variety be licensed internationally? Should it be patented and trademarked?
3. Benefit all participants. All participants in the food chain, including producers, retailers, consumers, and WSU, should benefit from new varieties.
4. Provide fair opportunity for all Washington producers to participate. As tax-paying citizens, Washington producers provide both tax dollars and industry funds through the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, to support WSU’s breeding programs. All Washington growers should have access to the new varieties.
5. Licensee selection. Those selected as licensee should have a sound business strategy, including inventory control, quality assurance, and marketing.
6. Acknowledge breeding program funding sources. WSU’s breeding programs are not funded by single sources, but come from state taxpayers and external sources (gifts, producer levies, etc.). —M. Hansen