One of the world’s most highly-anticipated apple varieties is at the core of an unusual legal dispute between Washington State University and one of its own spinoff companies.
Seattle-based startup Phytelligence claims in a lawsuit that WSU has wrongly blocked the company from commercializing “Cosmic Crisp,” a new popular apple variety invented at the university two decades ago. In its own lawsuit, WSU alleges that Phytelligence improperly sold 135,000 Cosmic Crisp trees to a grower, which the company denies.
The juicy new apple, a cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise, is known for its taste and long shelf life. The New York Times said it’s considered “the most promising and important apple of the future.” Washington farmers ordered 12 million Cosmic Crisp trees, with the first grocery store deliveries planned for 2019 — the biggest apple launch in history, according to The Guardian.