SeCan says it has reached a $150,000 settlement with a farm near Moose Jaw, Sask. regarding unauthorized sales of flax and durum varieties protected by Plant Breeders’ Rights legislation.
Harvey Marcil of Pasqua Farms has agreed to the cash settlement and a declaration that there will be no additional unauthorized sales.
The case involved CDC Bethune flax and AC Strongfield durum. The flax sales were of particular concern to SeCan, as the flax industry was responding to the discovery of the unwanted Triffid variety in shipments to Europe.
“This was a particularly concerning situation as the industry has invested considerable resources launching re-constituted seed supplies of several flax varieties. Having an individual profit while perpetuating an industry problem was taken very seriously,” says Todd Hyra, Western Canada business manager for the Canadian seed consortium.
SeCan’s largest settlement to date was for $120,000 in 2013.
While farm-saved seed is allowed under both old and new plant breeders’ rights regulations (new rules took effect last February under UPOV ’91), it’s against the law to sell a protected variety without authorization.
“If we want access to the best genetics, plant breeders from Canada and around the world need to know the Canadian industry is playing by the rules,” says Hyra.