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China’s SPC Clarifies Scope of PVR in Highly Anticipated Decision in Pomelo Case

By Alanna Rennie (Baker Mckenzie, Sydney), Dr Yu Shujun (Beijing Hengda Agforest PBR Attorneys Co., Ltd. ) and Andrew Sim (Baker Mckenzie, Beijing)

The Supreme People’s Court of China has handed down its decision in the highly anticipated San Hong Pomelo Plant Variety Rights Infringement Case – providing significant clarification on the scope of Plant Variety Rights in China.

December 11, Beijing - The Supreme People’s Court handed down its decision on the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) infringement case of Cai Xin Guang (Appellant) vs. Guangzhou Runping Company Limited. Appellant is the holder of PVR in the pomelo variety San Hong (三红蜜柚 variety). The Appellant claimed that sales of the San Hong pomelo fruit in supermarkets infringed its PVR, claiming that the fruit falls within the definition of “propagating material” (繁殖材料) and therefore the scope of PVR under China’s New Plant Variety Protection Regulations (PVR Regulations) and Seed Law. In the end the Court determined that the fruit subject to the sale was not propagating material, and dismissed the Appellant’s claim of infringement.

However, the judgment provides significant detail on the Court’s decision process and logic, providing welcomed guidance on the scope of the right in China. Among the judges presiding on this case was Judge Luo Xia, who has significant experience in dealing with PVR cases and has made significant efforts to provide judicial guidance for breeders in this case.