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The Kiko Goat Registry

Robert Bryant, former AKGA President

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, …. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.   Joshua 24:15

In the recent past, the American Kiko Goat Association’s (AKGA) purchase of the Kiko Goat Registry and the legal entitlements associated with that purchase have come into sharp focus and debate. Kiko registries, that is, International Kiko Goat Association, Pedigree International, The Kiko Pedigree and the National Kiko Registry have been established in violation of the copyrights and trademarks AKGA purchased form Goatex Group of New Zealand. The following information is intended to provide the facts related to this important topic. Before purchasing any Kiko goats that are not registered with AKGA, please read and understand the following.

First a brief review of the history of the Kiko goat. A project to capitalize on New Zealand feral goat hardiness and improve growth rate commenced in 1978 with the selection of 20 does from a New Zealand herd numbering over 1,000. After four generations of controlled and selective breeding, a significant improvement in live weight and animal performance had been achieved and the new Kiko breed was established. This new breed was developed exclusively by Goatex Group LLC, a New Zealand corporation that was solely responsible for the breeding of Kiko goats in New Zealand. The corporation was originally a consortium of large farmers that had an interest in goat meat production.

The word Kiko had traditionally been used by New Zealand’s native people, the Maori, to describe substantial meat producing animals. The members of the consortium decided to adopt the local usage for the enhanced meat goat they developed.

In the ensuing years, a number of the Kiko goats had been imported in the United States and a grass roots interest in the new breed was gaining momentum. To provide a basis for Kiko breeders to have a common focus and voice, the American Kiko Goat Association was chartered in 1996. However, the registry of Kiko goats bred in the U.S. continued to be handled by Goatex Group of New Zealand. By this time, Graham Culliford, a New Zealand native, farmer and attorney, was sole proprietor of Goatex Group.

In 2000 the AKGA Board of Directors approached Graham Culliford with an offer to purchase the Kiko Goat Registry. An amount of $40,000 was agreed upon and an Agreement for Sale and Purchase of the Kiko Goat Registry was written and signed by the respective parties. The purchase agreement gave AKGA exclusive right to the registry of Kiko goats in North and South America. Unfortunately, at that time the AKGA leadership did not realize the importance or urgency of formally and legally copyrighting and trade marking essential provisions of the purchase agreement. Hopefully, this omission can be somewhat rectified by actions undertaken recently to file copyright and trademark applications.

Why would an organization with a few members and meager financial resources pay $40,000 for this New Zealand Kiko Goat Registry? The explanation is really simple and straightforward. The organization wanted a registry with traceability to the very origin of the Kiko breed, and the organization expected to receive significant financial benefit from the exclusive registry of Kiko goats in North and South America. Some people have suggested that the purchase agreement has no copyright/trademark provisions, while others have suggested that AKGA was fooled into purchasing a worthless “bill of goods”. I think the officers of the organization firmly believed that the purchase represented a sound financial investment and a legal entitlement to the exclusive registry of Kiko goats.

I asked three people who are credible and reliable sources what they thought the purchase represented. Graham Culliford, the seller of the Kiko Goat Registry, had these comments. “It is pretty simple and crystal clear. The AKGA has the sole right to register Kikos in the US. It has the sole right, predicated on the imported bloodline register provided to it as part of the contract of sale, to determine what is and what is not a pure blood Kiko. The AKGA got something that was of substantial merit and at a price that was modest…”

Brinson Taylor, former AKGA director, who initiated the purchase with Graham Culliford and then put up his farm as collateral to secure the $40,000 loan to pay for the Kiko Goat Registry, had this to say. “We knew based on what we were paying Goatex Group for our registrations that the purchase of the Kiko Goat Registry would be a good financial investment, and in fact expected the price to be much higher. We expected to repay the loan in 5-6 years from revenues generated by the registry, but we actually paid it off in 3 years. We thought we had exclusive control of the registry of Kiko goats worldwide with the exception of New Zealand.”

And finally, Andrew Smith, AKGA’s attorney and a farmer himself offered the following legal opinion with respect to the purchase agreement for the Kiko Goat Registry. “To be clear, AKGA is the owner and claims the sole and exclusive legal right within North America and South America to determine when an animal is or is not a registerable Kiko Goat and the sole and exclusive legal right to register and /or certify Kiko Goats. Any other organization, whether it be a person, corporation, or other entity of any kind or nature that purports to register and/or certify Kiko Goats within North America and/or South America is violating the legal rights and property rights of AKGA.”

Having said the above, the obvious question is what AKGA is going to do about the infringement by other organizations. Are we going to take legal action? I don’t know. We all know legal pursuits are expensive and we are a member owned organization with limited financial resources. Would we win in a court of law? Again, I don’t know.  We have been advised that we have a strong case, but courts can sometimes be fickle. Does the Kiko Goat Registry owned by AKGA provide the only authentic registry with traceability to the very origin of the Kiko breed? By now I hope you will agree that’s a resounding YES! But you be the judge based on the evidence presented.

Hopefully, this information will help you be better informed about this important issue, and, more importantly, help you appreciate the value of an AKGA membership and the value of The Kiko Goat Registry. Regardless of what happens, I encourage you to help us maintain the value of the Kiko Goat Registry by only buying and selling animals that are registered in the Kiko Goat Registry. As for me and my household, we intend to solely support AKGA.

 

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