Earlier this week, Selecta Klemm filed a Complaint for patent infringement in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against German breeding company Westhoff, and unrooted cutting suppliers Vivero Internacional (Mexico); Plant Source International (Mexico); and Cohen Propagation Nurseries (Israel).
In the press release, they say that the complaint alleges that importation of Westhoff’s Discoball™ spotted Petunia varieties into the United States infringes upon Selecta’s U.S. Patent Nos. 10,588,288 and 11,266,114 for their well-recognized and protected Sky Petunia pattern introduced into the market in 2016.
Selecta Klemm GmbH Co. KG and Klemm & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG are represented by Cooley LLP (Palo Alto, CA) and The Dacus Firm, P.C. (Tyler, TX).
In response to the complaint, Westhoff says:
"Although we disagree with the assertion that Selecta has made in regards to Westhoff’s breeding activities violating their legal plant protections, Westhoff has an obligation to the growers in the United States to respond and take appropriate actions to prevent additional disruption of their business.
We are continually grateful to our partners; from our licensees, to plant brokerages, to root and sell operations, and to finished bedding plant producers that their support has allowed us to be able to breed and develop new and innovative products for the past three decades. And the fact that they have found resonance with the gardening public is truly humbling.
As growers ourselves, our challenges, and successes, have always been shared and, although this extreme response is disruptive to growers and our partners in the supply chain, we feel obligated to defend our reputation and hope that we can find clarity in this dispute with a minimum of inconvenience."