Club Apple Question

So if an Apple variety has a patent and a trademarked name such as SweeTango from The University of Minnesota, is it illegal for anyone outside of their “club” to grow one of those trees for themselves? Or is it just illegal to sell the apples for a profit using since the name is trademarked? I’ve browsed through some topics that talk about these varieties a little but I’m still a little unclear. Thanks in advance

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I’d say if you do not join the club, it would be illegal for you to grow those trees even for individual consumption. There is no way that non-club members can legally obtain these trees (I am sure there are ways to obtain them illegally).

I posted this article a while back. It can be helpful for new members to read about “club apples”.

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I helped an orchard prune two years ago when I first started my business. I just saw today they have a club variety I’d like. I might have to go back this winter for a couple weeks :wink:

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Wow i didn’t even know this type of apple existed. Learn something new everyday!

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Hmm, this is kind of weird to me that they can patent a tree variety. If I were to cross a Honeycrisp and a Zestar, both of which I currently grow, and get my own SweeTango am I in conflict with the patent and trademark rights?

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PM me when you do? :wink:

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Definitely something out of the ordinary. I like the sound of a few of the club apples and would love to give them a shot. Still not sure how I feel about the patent and trademark approach

Not the patent right because, except for identical twins, no two progeny of the same parents are identical. Every time there is a cross, the genes will shuffle differently. However, if you clone a patented apple, you are violating the law. And if you use a trademark name for your apple, that is also illegal.

So it’s ok to cross a Honeycrisp with a Zestar and grow the seeds. It’s not OK to clone a SweeTango™ or to use the name for your own apple.

Im not a lawyer but that’s my impression.

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Yes, but in 9 years you’ll be able to clone a SweeTango as long as you call it ‘Minneiska’, the same apple.

SweeTango is a Trademark name for the cultivar Minneiska. Minneiska is patented, but patent protection only lasts 20 years from filing.

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I think your impression sounds like it makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the input

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Another good point. Although, even after the patent expires the club members could choose not to share scionwood with anyone. Meaning any cloned tree would have to have been obtained illegally. I might try to cross my own and see what sort of results I can get compared to the store bought SweeTango’s just for curiosities sake.

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Do it. Then once you get a tree with good apples that rival the SweeTango, name it BetterSweeTango and start your own exclusive club! muhahaha!

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Say you visited an orchard, and a small twig of one of the trees inadvertently broke off and came home with you…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Sorry I wasn’t referring to Sweet Tango, but a somewhat local club variety that I like…but I will keep you posted lol

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Totally reminds me of the Drug Company’s hold on the industry and prices. If one waits till the drug patent expires - they will ‘tweak’ the formula and just name it something else - to retain the patent perks.

I cannot believe all of the ‘new’ varieties that appear in the groceries each year!
And . . . something happens as a couple of years pass, with each of them An apple in the year of its ‘debut’ is Amazing! Then, when purchased a few years later . . . not so amazing. So . . . . what happens? Last year I bought some NY ‘RubyFrost’ apples at Costco. I absolutely loved them. This year - just mediocre. I’m convinced that it is more than just a coincidence. Does the original hybridizing get ‘watered down’, somehow?

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I think when they first come out they make extra effort to make sure it’s handled and picked just right. After a few years they just handle them like any other apple as it’s to expensive to go the extra mile.

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The thing I get annoyed with, is that most of the newer apple releases seem to be trying to copy the success of the Honeycrisp. Too many apples now that have names with sweet/crunch/honey/crisp/snap in the name and they all tend to be overly sweet and crunchy with little flavor or acidity. I guess it might be nice for people who like their apples that way(I know, popular demand), but they just make me roll my eyes whenever I see them.

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I’m still puzzled that Honeycrisp is described as sweet. The apples I get here in WA state are usually in the 10-12 brix range and have a one-note sour flavor to me. It’s all about the texture.

I like apples that are 15+ brix, and usually with some distinct flavor and a good amount of acid to go with it , but that last part is optional.

Apples from the supermarket most likely to please in the last few years have been club apples. Opal, Lady Alice, Smitten are at the top of the list. Envy are usually good and are much more available, but they tend to skew sweet and I’d like them to have more acid.

I’ve had superb Fuji, Pink Lady (and Honeycrisp for that matter) and others, but most of the ones available here are not good. Often with texture problems, or just tasting bland and low-brix.

I had a Crimson Crisp this week that was still a little starchy but excellent. Tasted high brix and high acid like the best Pink Ladies I’ve had. Don’t know if I got lucky, or if this is another apple to look out for.

I’ve never had a Gala that I’ve liked, neither texture nor flavor. Its so popular, I figure I must be missing something. I’d thought that about Pink Lady until recently. It seems like the highly red ones seem to taste better, which is counter to my prejudices.

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Honeycrisp is by far the top seller in our area so it’s most of what we grow. I don’t mind the taste or texture but it’s not my first pick if I have a choice.

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I want to cross one of my Honeycrisp and one of my Zestars and get a Mennieska and trademark the name Swango, or maybe Schwango? I say that now but taking on a 15 year project might be out of my wheelhouse.

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