In Spain, Yet Another Jail Sentence For Plant Variety Rights Infringement

Jail Sentence for Plant Variety Rights Infringement in Algeciras Court
Algeciras, situated on the Bay of Gibraltar
Photo: NASA

According to an article published this week in La Voz Digital, a court in the Andalusian port city of Algeciras recently sentenced an individual to six months in prison for criminally infringing plant variety rights in the carnation variety known as WESROMAN. Condenado a seis meses de prisión por cultivar ilegalmente claveles de una variedad protegida, LaVozDigital.es (Oct. 8, 2012). The article states that the defendant, a florist in the town of Chipiona, was determined to have unlawfully reproduced the plants of the protected variety by rooting plant cuttings, which were then multiplied to produce flowers intended for sale. The conviction was based on Article 274.3 of the Spanish Penal Code, which provides that–

Whoever, for agricultural or commercial purposes, without the consent of the owner of a new plant variety title and being aware of its registration, produces or reproduces, conditions with a view to production or reproduction, offers on sale, sells or otherwise commercializes, exports, imports or possesses, for any of the purposes mentioned, plant material for reproduction or propagation of a protected plant variety pursuant to the laws on protection of new plant varieties shall be punished….

According to the article–which is based on information provided by the National Association of Plant Variety Rights Owners (ANOVE)–the court determined that the defendant engaged in the infringement “with full knowledge of [the variety’s] registration and [was] at all times acting for the intention of making a profit [and] for his own benefit.”

As explained in a post published in this blog earlier this week, plant variety owners’ associations in Spain have been aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions against alleged infringers. See In Spain, Plant Breeders’ Rights Criminal Cases Draw Fines, Jail Terms, Acquittal, SullivanLawNet (Oct. 8, 2012). The present sentence–entered by the Juzgado de lo Penal nº 4 in Alegciras–is just the latest in a growing list of cases in which courts have imposed prison terms for violations of Penal Code Article 274.3.

by Shawn N. Sullivan, Oct. 11, 2012.


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