One year in jail and the sentence to destroy all the plants for reproducing protected blueberries without a license

A nurseryman has been sentenced to one year in jail by Criminal Court no. 4 of Huelva for reproducing and multiplying without authorization the varieties of cranberry "Snowchaser" and "Ventura". The judgment considers the commission of a crime against industrial property, as defined in article 274.4 of the Criminal Code, proven.

The convicted person, who carried out the nursery activity without being duly registered in the corresponding administrative records, had obtained plant material from the aforementioned varieties of unknown origin and proceeded to its reproduction and multiplication without the necessary license of the rights holders thereof.

The sentence, against which there is no recourse, condemns the producer to a sentence of one year in prison and forfeiture and destruction in charge of all the plants belonging to such varieties

This judicial procedure was initiated by the complaint filed by the Plant Licensing Management (Geslive) before the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard Command of Huelva. Responsible for Geslive have indicated that “they are obliged to remain vigilant to report to the authorities any fraud that involves an infringement of industrial property rights, since respect for legal regulations is everyone's responsibility and an indispensable condition for the sector to increase its competitiveness ”.

Geslive recalls that the unauthorized reproduction and production of reproductive material of vegetable varieties protected from fruit trees constitutes a serious problem in Spanish fruit growing areas. This massive fraud has serious consequences not only for breeders of new plant varieties, which are causing multi-million dollar losses every year, but also for the entire sector, as it constitutes serious unfair competition for all authorized producers.

On the other hand, such plant material produced clandestinely outside the official control and certification system, has no guarantee that it truly belongs to the variety indicated, its varietal purity or its phytosanitary conditions.

In the case of natural persons, after the modification made in the Criminal Code, by Law 1/2015 dated March 30, the unauthorized exploitation of protected plant varieties constitutes a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

It should be remembered that in this same province, a bankruptcy case occurred, since the US courts have condemned the payment of one million dollars to a Michigan nursery, Hartmann's Plant Company, for the multiplication and sale without authorization of blueberry varieties to producers Huelva.


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