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Strawberry growers are literally being cheated out of the fruits of their labors by the University of California, according to a lawsuit filed against the Board of Regents by the California Strawberry Commission.
UC Davis is ending its strawberry breeding program and replacing it with a private company created by its two long-time strawberry researchers. The two plan to sell strawberry varieties, including those they developed over the past 30 years at UC Davis backed by annual payments of $350,000 by the strawberry commission.
Filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the commission’s eight-page lawsuit wants to block the move, saying the university “seeks to appropriate to itself and a private entity… the fruits – both literally and figuratively – of decades-long research the commission funded.” In return for the commission’s funding, strawberry growers who used the new UC-crated types of strawberries paid lower royalties and got two years of exclusivity before non-California growers could use the new varieties. That changed in 2012 when the university’s strawberry breeders, Doug Shaw and Kirk Larson, said they were going private…
Well, nothing lasts forever. Nothing to get hung about: