Astée Flowers Wins Infringement Case
In a recent judgment, the Court in The Hague has decided that the gypsophila cultivar ‘Blancanieves’ is not an infringement on the variety Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’ (Danziger “Dan” Flower Farms) and that ‘Blancanieves’ is a completely new independent variety of Astée Flowers B.V. from Nieuwveen, The Netherlands.
Since the mid 1990s it has become harder for finders of mutant plants to develop commercial activities with other mutant plants. In case a new variety has been derived from another existing variety and only marginally differs from the original variety, the holder of the breeder’s rights of the original variety will have to give permission for the exploitation of the mutant. Even if it concerns an essential difference, for instance the color of the flower. So that the wish of the breeders has been met.
However, there are still certain obstacles/threats attached to this rule as the ‘Blancanieves’ case shows. Astée Flowers brought the new double flowered gypsophila cultivars ‘Blancanieves’ and ‘Summer Snow’ to the market, which was dominated by the Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’ of Danziger. Danziger considered the new varieties of Astée Flowers as a threat to the strong position of Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’ and stated that Astée Flowers was not allowed to sell these varieties without the permission of Danziger, according to Astée Flowers.
Furthermore, Danziger sent a letter to all its clients in which the growers were warned not to buy ‘Blancanieves’ or ‘Summer Snow’ from Astée Flowers because they would invade the breeders rights on the Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’, also according to Astée Flowers.
With the new ruling it appears the Astée Flowers variety was not essentially derived from Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’ and therefore falls under their breeders rights. The court has decided that Astée Flowers has carried out true classic breeding activities and that the gypsophila cultivars ‘Blancanieves’ and ‘Summer Snow’ truly differ from Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’, making Danziger’s infringement case null.
Also the Court has ordered Danziger to send a letter to announce that ‘Blancanieves’ and ‘Summer Snow’ do not infringe on the breeders rights of Million Stars ‘Dangypmini’. The Court has not awarded Astée with compensation in the ruling. For more information on the ruling visit astee