Alliance Seed, SeCan reach largest settlement in Canadian history over unauthorized seed sales

Alliance Seed and SeCan say they’ve agreed to a cash settlement worth over seven hundred thousand dollars with a large farm in southern Alberta that made unauthorized sales of barley and wheat varieties protected by plant breeders’ rights (PBR) legislation.

Alliance, SeCan, and one unnamed seed distributor will receive $737,597 in compensation for royalties, as well as legal and investigative costs, and a declaration that there will be no additional unauthorized sales, the companies say. They also agreed to not name the farm publicly.

“We are pleased to finally put this one to rest – it has been in the works for five years and covers sales spanning six seasons,” notes Todd Hyra, business manager for Western Canada with SeCan.

The settlement is three times the size of any previous PBR settlement in Canada. The companies say it involved not only advertising and sales of protected varieties, but custom seeding of protected varieties.

“Infringers need to be aware – it is not just a matter of paying royalties owing when you get caught. Settlement normally includes royalties, investigative and legal costs, and other damages, which can result in very substantial payments,” says Jim Bagshaw, general manager of Alliance Seed.

Hyra also describes the case as “an example of how the seed industry needs to work together to continue to educate and enforce PBR to ensure we have a robust breeding network in Canada working for producers.”

“The CPTA – now a division of Seeds Canada – was integral in helping build this case and continues to lead the industry in protection of intellectual property. Anyone selling seed needs to take note of the implications and cease illegal sales immediately,” he says.

Related: Passage of Bill C-18, Including UPOV ’91, Celebrated in Winnipeg

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