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Prison Term for PVP Infringement by Alleged Wheat Bandit

On 14 April 2016, a criminal court in the Spanish city of Segovia sentenced an individual to a six month prison term for infringing the plant variety protection (PVP) rights of Limagrain Europe SA in the soft wheat variety known as CRAKLINGESLIVE v. Mario Gomez Luna, Sentencia 0014/2016 (Juzgado de lo Penal n°1 de Segovia 14 April 2016).

According to the court’s judgment, on 11 November 2013, the defendant transferred without authorization 800 kilograms of grain of the CRAKLIN variety which had been conditioned to be planted as seed. The court determined that the defendant had violated Article 274.3 of the Spanish Penal Code, which at the time prescribed a prison term of six months to two years for certain criminal violations of plant variety rights. In addition to imposing the six month prison sentence, the court ordered the defendant to pay a penal fine and to pay civil damages in the amount of €3500 to GESLIVE, Limagrain’s intellectual property rights enforcement agent.

It is worth noting that in 2015, after the events upon which this conviction and sentence were based, the relevant articles of the Spanish Penal Code were amended to increase the penalties for criminal PVP infringement. Effective from 1 July 2015, Penal Code Article 274.4 now prescribes a prison term of one to three years for any person who, without the authorization of the variety owner, with knowledge that the variety is registered, and for agricultural or commercial purposes, engages in the reproduction, sale, exportation, importation of, or possesses reproductive material of a protected variety.

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