WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A French company has obtained exclusive worldwide rights to a disease-resistant apple that's the fruit of a long-running breeding program involving Purdue University.

Benoit Escande Editions SARL recently won the rights to the Juliet apple that's known for its long storage life, smooth, shiny skin and a crisp texture.

The apple is the product of a cooperative breeding program involving Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of Illinois that began in 1945 to develop apples resistant to a serious fungal pathogen that causes apple scab.

The Juliet apple is gaining popularity for organic production because its resistance to apple scab means growers need significantly less pesticides.

The trademarked apples are grown in France by more than 120 growers who distribute them throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Canada.