Driscoll’s Strawberry Dispute Could Sweeten Plant Patent Case Law

Bloomberg Law

04/09/2019

Matthew A. Chivvis

Patent Litigation

In The News

Reproduced with permission. Published Apr. 9, 2019. Copyright 2019 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

A recent article in Bloomberg Law describes how a lawsuit filed by California’s top strawberry producer and firm client, Driscoll’s Inc., could sweeten the deal for plant patent owners. The suit could help determine what actions constitute unauthorized use of a patented plant variety. The berry grower claims that the private strawberry breeding company, California Berry Cultivars LLC (CBC), improperly used Driscoll’s proprietary strawberry varieties in its plant-breeding activities.

CBC’s founders were also involved in a 2016 lawsuit where U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California ruled that they infringed UC Davis’ patents by taking some university plants to Spain for cross-breeding, and importing seeds to California for commercial use. Judge Chhabria’s ruling in that case set a precedent for determining the unauthorized use of plant parts covered by plant patents.

In the article, MoFo IP partner Matthew Chivvis, who is representing Driscoll’s and previously represented UC Davis, told Bloomberg Law that more companies are looking to enforce their plant patent rights after the UC Davis case. “My clients invest heavily in their technologies and to have somebody come, take it and run is no longer acceptable,” Chivvis said.

A complimentary copy of the article is enclosed in PDF format.

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