New apple varieties from Washington State University are evaluated and ­commercialized under the following general guidelines.

Phase 1: Initial seedling selection and evaluation The Washington Apple Breeding Program evaluates many thousands of seedlings, with input from its Industry Advisory Council. The breeding program identifies selections for ­advancement to Phase 2.

Phase 2: Small-scale on-farm trials Two Washington grower-cooperators at representative sites in Washington plant about five trees per selection in test plots under a WSU testing agreement. Grower-cooperators are selected on the basis of the suitability of the sites. A third site is planted at the WSU Sunrise orchard. The breeding ­program identifies selections for advancement to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Mid-scale on-farm trials Four grower-cooperators at representative sites provide test plots for between 10 and 100 trees per selection under a WSU testing agreement. The breeding program identifies selections intended for advancement to Phase 4 and submits them to the WSU Horticultural Cultivar Release Committee for recommended release.

Phase 4: Wide-scale testing Commercial growers can sign an agreement with the WSU Research Foundation to plant up to five trees per selection for evaluation, at a cost of $600. For two sites (10 trees), the fee is $1,200. The application period is from January to March 31 for five years after the variety’s release. Application forms for WA 2 and WA 5 will be on the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission’s Web site at in December. Growers cover all costs involved in growing the trees and follow their own management practices.

Phase 4 participants have the opportunity to apply for a license agreement in Phase 5. If they participate in Phase 5, they acquire ownership of the trees. If not, they must destroy them.

Phase 5: Commercialization Only participants in Phase 4 may acquire licenses for Phase 5 commercialization rights.
One-time royalties will be paid at the time of planting to the WSU Research ­Foundation according to the following tentative schedule:
—250,000 or fewer packed boxes shipped industrywide—$1 per tree or $1,000 per acre royalty
—More than 250,000 boxes shipped (or possibly 350 acres planted)—$2,000 per acre
—More than 500,000 boxes shipped (or 500 acres)—$3,000 per acre
—More than 1 million boxes shipped (or 1,000 acres)—$4,000 per acre
—More than 5 million boxes shipped (or 5,000 acres)—$5,000 per acre