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Potato variety Lady Rosetta of C. Meijer illegally reproduced

Denmark: Unipatatas owner Jens Kristensen convicted of willful infringement

The Danish Court in Viborg convicted the company Knud Kristensen ApS (owned by Jens Kristensen and also co-owner of the Danish export company Unipatatas) and Lars Berg Christensen for importing and illegally reproducing seedlings of the Lady Rosetta potato variety in Denmark. The seedlings came from Germany. Due to the unique nature of this infringement case, the Danish court was composed of three judges.

Reasoning and decision of the Court

The Lady Rosetta potato variety has a legal growers protection status in Denmark and belongs to the potato seed growing company C. Meijer in Rilland, The Netherlands. According to Danish law, this material is only allowed to be imported for commercial production and reproduction, and can only be offered for sale with the consent of the grower's right holder. It is established that the defendants have failed to demonstrate that consent has been obtained, and that defendants have traded and reproduced 130,200 kg. of the protected potato variety within Denmark. The defendants claimed that the growers' rights are inapplicable because the seedlings came from Germany where the growers' rights for this variety are not protected. However, the judge ruled to disagree.

Right to compensation

The judge ruled that satisfactory evidence was given to show that the infringement was intentional. Breeders Trust is therefore entitled to damages caused by the intentional infringement. The court imposes a ban on the company Knud Kristensen and Lars Berg Christensen from using the starting material of the Lady Rosetta potato variety for further production and sales without the consent of the grower's rights holder.

Level of the fine imposed

The defendants, Knud Kristensen ApS and Lars Berg Christensen have been sentenced to pay a fine to the amount of € 16,014.60 plus interest. In addition, they have to pay the legal costs to the Breeders Trust amounting to DKK 30,000 as compensation. Due to the size and severity of the intentional infringement, the court also claims a fine based on the Danish Plant growers Act. The amount of this penalty is also determined at DKK 30,000 to be paid to the Danish Treasury. The company has 4 weeks to appeal against the ruling.

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