On 7 Sept. 2021, China’s Supreme People's Court (SPC) released the first batch of 10 typical cases of IPR judicial protection by the court in the seed industry, including disputes over infringement of the right to new plant varieties, administrative disputes over the review of rejected applications for new plant varieties and others.
Among them, the case Huai’an Jindi Seeds Industry Technology Co., Ltd. v. Jiangsu Qingengtian Agricultural Industry Development Co., Ltd. for infringement over the right to new plant varieties (江苏省金地种业科技有限公司诉江苏亲耕田农业产业发展有限公司侵害植物新品种权纠纷案)(Nanjing Intermediate People's Court, Jiangsu, (2020) Su 01 Min Chu No. 773, (2020)苏01民初773号), and the SPC, (2021) Zui Gao Fa Zhi Min Zhong No. 816, (2021)最高法知民终816号) determines the nature of the accused infringement under the cover of business entities such as "farmers" and "big farming households" to contact the sale and purchase parties through the information network. The SPC held that Jiangsu Qingengtian Agricultural Industry Development Co., Ltd. (hereinafter ‘Qingengtian’) was not a farmer, and the number of seeds involved in the seed sales information it publicized and organized for transactions reached tens of thousands of jins, far exceeding the number and scale of self-propagation and self-use by farmers. Given that Qingengtian released the specific sales information of the infringing seeds, and negotiated with the buyer to determine the packaging method, price, number, and performance period for the transactions, it is determined that the sale contract was concluded in accordance with law. Therefore, as the trading organizer and the decision-maker of selling the infringing seeds, Qingengtian had constituted infringement.
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Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team