Agriculture Intellectual Property

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Keep Calm and Sip Some Sparkling Wine

Many who enjoy champagne have noticed that their favorite cuvée has quietly changed its label. Many of the world’s bottles of bubbly now indicate that they contain “sparkling wine” when they used to be “champagne.” Those who...more

Supreme Court Update: Horne V. Dep't Of Agriculture (14-275), Kimble V. Marvel Entertainment (13-720), Patel V. City Of Los...

Raisins, radioactive wrists, Red Roof registries, and reformatory roughhousing were all on the Court's radar Monday (it's a very broad radar horizon), as it issued decisions in Horne v. Dep't of Agriculture (14-275), holding...more

Litigants Challenging PTO Decisions in District Court Should Be Prepared to Pay PTO’s Attorneys’ Fees - Shammas v. Focarino

Addressing the issue of attorneys’ fees in connection with a district court challenge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO’s) decision to reject a trademark registration, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth...more

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Delano Farms Plant Patent Case

Mysterious to even many patent practitioners, plant patent issues create their own peculiar body of controlling case law. A recent Federal Circuit decision, Delano Farms v. The California Table Grape Commission, illustrates...more

Can One Bad Apple Spoil the Bunch?

According to their recent press release, Intrexon Corp (NYSE:XON) recently purchased a Canadian specialty food producer, namely Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., the inventor of the “Arctic®” apple. ...more

European Patent Office Finds Plants and Plant Products Patent-Eligible

On March 25, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) of the European Patent Office (EPO) handed a victory to those seeking to protect plant inventions in Europe. The EBA found that the essentially biological processes exclusion of...more

New Canadian Law Strengthens Plant Breeders’ Rights

In Canada, plant breeders’ rights are a form of intellectual property under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act of 1990. The intent of the 1990 act was to encourage plant breeding in Canada by strengthening the protections for new...more

The Plant Variety Protection Act—An Increasingly Important Form of Intellectual Property Protection for Plants

As part of their treaty obligations in establishing International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), member countries have enacted laws that provide ‘‘Plant Breeders’ Rights’’ for protecting the...more

Mississippi Supreme Court Limits Broker Liability Where Insured’s Conduct Is Uninsurable

When an insurance claim is denied, policyholders sometimes look to their broker as a potential source of recovery. Generally speaking, a broker owes its client the duty to procure the scope of coverage requested. When a...more

Unauthorized Use of Patented Grape Plants Not an Invalidating Public Use - Delano Farms Co. v. California Table Grape Comm’n

Addressing the issue of public use under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) in the context of an unauthorized use open to the public, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding that the actions of...more

January 2015: EU Litigation Update

Second Helping—The EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeals Hears Tomatoes/Broccoli II. On October 27, 2014 the Enlarged Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office (EBoA) heard the two appeals against the Opposition Division’s...more

Product labeling requirements aren't all black and white

Your company has created and developed a new, innovative product. You’ve tested your product, you’ve adopted a new trademark, and you’re ready to begin manufacturing. The remaining steps of preparing your product for sale,...more

Seeds Worth More than Gold

Plant Breeders are Learning the Value of Protecting Their Inventions - Agricultural espionage: it’s not exactly the stuff of John le Carré novels. But recently a Chinese woman was charged in a plot to steal U.S. corn...more

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The California Strawberry Commission’s Claim to University Plant Breeding Research

Plant patents are often overshadowed by their more well-known utility and design patent counterparts under U.S. law. Yet, with the increasing branding and differentiation of agricultural commodities, plant patent rights...more

Why Plant Patenting Floats Free of GMO Crop Controversies

Public debates about the merits of genetically modified crops often end in polarized shouting matches. They pit so-called “romantic environmentalists” against scientifically-minded advocates for companies that derive their...more

2014 End of Session Legislative Report - The 2013-14 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, which began its "short...

The Very Long, Short Session - The 2013-14 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, which began its “short session” on May 14th, finally concluded its business on August 20th. The 2014 session which was...more

When Milk is Not Milk: Dairy Farmers of Canada v. Cytosport, Inc.

You can’t get a trade-mark registration for a word that will deceive consumers. Put into legalese, section 12 of the Canadian Trade-marks Act says a trade-mark is not registrable if it is either “clearly descriptive or...more

Bowman v Monsanto in an Australian context

Most will be aware by now of the recent US Supreme Court decision, Bowman v Monsanto Co.,569 US (2013). One question that remains is what would have been the outcome if like facts had arisen in Australia and were considered...more

Creation of a new industrial property right in France: the "geographical indication of industrial and handicraft products"

The French law no.2014-344 on consumer protection, named "Hamon Act" (for the name of the Ministry in charge of this reform) and dated March 17, 2014, creates a new industrial property right: the "Geographical Indications...more

Strawberry Patent Rights, Forever

Ripe strawberries define lusciousness. Fragile, with fleeting taste, these heart-shaped berries inspired Shakespeare’s pen: “The strawberry grows underneath the nettle; and wholesome berries thrive and ripen best;...more

Monsanto Files Complaint to Prevent Farmer from Harvesting Patented Seeds for Resale and Planting

On February 5, 2014, Monsanto Company and Monsanto Technology, LLC (“Monsanto”) filed a complaint in the Middle District of Georgia asserting willful patent infringement against a farmer (Christopher Ponder and Chris Ponder...more

Florida House Subcommittee Advances Fracking Disclosure Bills

The Florida House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee voted 8-4 on Tuesday in support of two bills that would require disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. While not as shale rich as its neighboring states to...more

Is Inventive Step In New Zealand “Udderly” Ridiculous?...And Will It Improve Under The New Legislation?

Under the present regime in New Zealand, the objection that a patent application lacks an inventive step is not available during prosecution and the burden of proof required to show a lack of inventive step in an opposition...more

Update - Protecting Plant Varieties In Australia And New Zealand

Recently we provided a summary of key elements of protecting plant varieties in Australia and New Zealand. In this summary we highlighted that plant breeders could seek dual protection under both Patents and Plant Breeder’s...more

Anti-GMO Groups Ask Supreme Court To Reconsider Standing To Bring Declaratory Judgment Action Against GMO Patent Holder

Recently, a group of 73 organic and conventional farmers, seed businesses, and public advocacy groups petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s decision that the petitioners lack standing to pursue their...more

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