Lawsuit says exclusive licensing deal for hot new SweeTango apple isn’t so sweet

By Steve Karnowski, AP
Friday, September 17, 2010

Licensing deal for hot new apple comes under fire

HASTINGS, Minn. — Some growers fear a new breed of apple could put them out of business.

The SweeTango boasts a juicy crunch and intense sweet-tart flavor with a note of spice. It just entered its second year of limited release in the U.S.

It’s marketed by a select group of growers in five states and two Canadian provinces under an exclusive licensing deal with the University of Minnesota.

But several orchards are suing. They it’s an unfair restraint on trade.

The school counters that universities everywhere award exclusive rights to all kinds of intellectual property. It says the royalties are crucial for replacing shrinking public funding. It also says the deal protects the quality of an apple it spent more than a decade developing.

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