Italian seed company fined

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Italian company Societa Agricola Sicil Vival A RL has been fined $78,780.50 and sentenced to eight months in prison for violating plant breeders’ rights on tomatoes.

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He was also ordered to pay nearly $144,000 in costs.

The court of Ragusa condemned Gaetano Senia and Bartolomeo Bernini, legal representatives of a nursery in Vittoria, in the province of Ragusa, where a variety of tomato protected by PBR was grown without the required authorization. This is the second such decision in Italy.

The process began with a complaint filed by the AIB (Anti-Infringement Bureau for Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Material), an international association under Belgian law whose objective is to fight against illegal activities in the seed sector. During the investigation carried out by the Prosecutor of Ragusa, a DNA analysis was carried out on the Società Agricola Sicil Vivai A RL company crops, which confirmed the presence of the protected tomato variety PBR in its greenhouses.

The financial police of Ragusa confirmed that the company was unable to provide invoices for the purchase of plants of the protected variety or other documents demonstrating the legitimate origin of the seeds used.

The penalty sets an important precedent in the seed sector, as it gives penal significance to the widespread technique of propagating plants covered by plant breeders’ rights with cuttings or “strains” of plants, a practice that undermines protected rights of the owners of the varieties. , according to which each seed purchased must correspond to a single plant.

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