Club De Variedades Vegetales Protegidas v. Adolfo Juan Martínez Sanchís
European Union Court of Justice
Case C-176/18 (2019)
Between 1995 and 2006, Adolfo Juan Martínez Sanchís (defendant) purchased mandarin tree plants of the Nadorcott variety from a nursery. In October 2004, the European plant office granted Nadorcott Protection SARL a patent-like right to the variety. However, that decision was subject to an appeal, and the final decision granting the right was not issued until February 2006. Club de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas (CVVP) brought an action against Martínez Sanchís on behalf of the Nadorcott right holder, alleging that the purchases of the plant variety made by Martínez Sanchís between October 2004 and February 2006 constituted an infringement of the right. The Spanish provincial court dismissed the action as unfounded, finding that Martínez Sanchís had purchased the plants in good faith. CVVP appealed to the Spanish supreme court, which in turn stayed proceedings and referred the matter to the European Union Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. The evidentiary record showed that fruits harvested from Nadorcott mandarin trees were not liable to be used for the purpose of generating more trees of the same variety.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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