Central Europe(Change)

Court recognizes patent on purple radish shoots

3 June 2013

On 28 May 2013, the court of The Hague passed judgement in the interlocutory proceedings between Taste of Nature and Cresco BV regarding the infringement of the patent on purple radish shoots. This patent is registered under the name of Taste of Nature. Sakura Cress, which falls under this patent, is traded by Koppert Cress. The court reversed the judgement of the preliminary relief judge in January 2012 and decided in favour of Taste of Nature. Cresco has been ordered to permanently cease all infringements within five working days on pain of a penalty for each breach.

The court drew on the interim decision of the court of The Hague on 8 May 2013, in which the arguments of Cresco - that the patent had been granted contrary to the terms of the European patent convention - were rejected. For the sector, the judgement and the previous ruling of the court mean that seed production and sales of the seeds or shoots of genetic material concerned are reserved for the patent holder. This allows the patent holder to see its efforts to bring the genetic material into being compensated throughout the remaining duration of the patent's applicability. 

Rob Baan, director of Koppert Cress explains: "It was our own idea, and we invested a great deal of money in the breeding process. We were unable to gain plant breeders' rights, and the only alternative was to put together an expensive patent. We are now finally able to earn back the costs involved in this." Mr Baan is naturally relieved at the judgement.

The genetic material mentioned in this case relates to radish with a purple leaf colour. The leaves contain more anthocyanin than other varieties. The leaves are brought onto the market under the name Sakura or Sango. Seed sales are taken care of by Sango Seeds BV, ensuring food-safe production and the efficient distribution of the seeds to interested producers of cress or sprout variants of this variety.

Taste of Nature has been assisted in these legal proceedings by meester P.J.M. Steinhauser, a lawyer practising in Bloemendaal, and Dr B.W. Swinkels, a patent agent. 
The full Dutch text of the ruling can be found on the following webpage (amongst other websites).

Official judgement [Dutch] - PDF
Translation judgement [English] - PDF

For more information

Hélène Bénard (Koppert Cress)
Tel: +31 (0)174 51 90 53
E-mail: helene@koppertcress.com