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Belgian Court Issues Injunction Against 'Saels' Pear Grower for Illegal Propagation

In a decision of June 19, 2019, the President of the Antwerp Business Court, in so-called ‘accelerated proceedings on the merits’, issued an injunction against a Belgian pear grower based on the finding that the latter had infringed the EU Plant Variety Right for the pear variety ‘Saels’, brand name Corina®.

Picture: The picture DOES not show the mentioned variety "Saels" and is for illustrative purposes only.

Credit: David Fartek,

Saels is a mutant of the well-known Conférence pear and is distinct from Conférénce in the characteristic “time of maturity for consumption”. It ripens approximately two weeks earlier and can thus be commercialized two weeks sooner, which offers a commercial advantage to growers, distributors and consumers.

In this case, the grower – who was a licensed Saels grower – was found to have planted illegally propagated material from Saels on a number of plots other than the parcel on which he grew the licensed trees.

After a lengthy technical discussion on variety identification, to which the Court declared that in the absence of any molecular markers for this trait only a phenotypical analysis could do the job, the Court ordered the grower to uproot and destroy the approximately 3.800 infringing trees. The grower was also ordered to pay the costs of the expertise and the legal costs under Belgian law. The grower appealed the decision.

About the Author:

Philippe de Jong

Partner, Altius, Belgium

Philippe de Jong specialises in Intellectual Property law, with a particular focus on Patents, Plant Variety Rights and parallel import issues. He has extensive experience in regulatory matters concerning the life sciences and agrifood industries. Philippe regularly lectures at conferences and seminars. He has published articles in various leading legal journals relating to his area of expertise. Philippe worked as a consultant for CPVO and is a member of Euroseeds (ESA), EPLAW, the Licensing Executives Society (LES), and CIOPORA.

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