PBR-covered barley sale leads to cease-and-desist deal

An unapproved sale of malting barley varieties covered by plant breeders’ rights (PBR) rules has been resolved out of court with a six-figure settlement.

Certified seed supplier SeCan, which represents over 450 seed varieties sold across Canada, reported Wednesday it had resolved legal action it launched against Junop Bros. Seed, a company at Delisle, Sask., southwest of Saskatoon.

SeCan said its case against the company, and against producer Leonard Junop, involved the “illegal sale” of the PBR-protected two-row malting barleys AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland.

The resolution, SeCan said in a release, includes “a declaration that the defendants will cease any further sales of SeCan’s protected varieties, as well as a cash payment totalling $120,000 in damages.”

The payment will cover royalties owing to the varieties’ respective plant breeding institutions and the balance will be invested in “future variety development,” SeCan said.

Copeland was bred by Bryan Harvey at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, while Metcalfe was developed by Bill Legge, a barley breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Brandon, Man. Both varieties sport “recommended” status from the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.

“Protection of our plant breeding partners’ intellectual property is something we take very seriously,” Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager for Western Canada, said in the company’s release. “We all need to play by the same set of rules.”

Under PBR, producers are allowed to save their own seed, but apart from sales into the commercial system, they are not permitted to sell, or trade the seed to others, Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, said in SeCan’s release.

“Even after 20 years of PBR being in effect in Canada, a large part of the process is still education. But when an individual or organization willingly seeks to profit from the illegal sale of a protected variety, CPTA member companies will take the necessary steps to enforce PBR.”

Ottawa-based SeCan noted it works with CPTA to “search out, investigate, and take all necessary action against infringers of plant-related intellectual property.” –– AGCanada.com Network

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