CJEU on the three-year period of prescription in respect of claims of a holder of a plant variety right

29-10-2021 Print this page
Auteur:
Lisa Peek
IPPT20211014, CJEU, Nadorcott mandarin trees

The three-year period of prescription of Article 96 of Regulation No 2100/94 in respect of claims pursuant to Articles 94 and 95 of Regulation No 2100/94 starts to run from the date on which, first, the plant variety right was finally granted and, second, the holder of the right had knowledge of the act and of the identity of the party liable, irrespective of the ongoing nature of an act of infringement or of the date on which that act ended. Claims in respect of a set of acts of infringement of a protected variety brought after more than three years have elapsed are time barred only from when, first, the plant variety right was finally granted and, second, the right holder had knowledge of each individual act forming part of that set of acts and of the identity of the party liable for them.

PLANT VARIETY RIGHTS 

The referring court requests the CJEU, in essence, to establish whether the three-year period of prescription of Article 96 of Regulation No 2100/94 starts to run after the right has been finally granted, from the time at which the holder has knowledge of the act and of the identity of the party liable, irrespective of whether or not the act of infringement continues until the moment a claim is brought.

The CJEU ruled that the three-year period of prescription starts to run, not from the time when the acts of infringement on account of which those claims are brought have come to an end, but from the date on which the holder has knowledge of those acts and of the identity of the party liable. Another interpretation would give rise to constant uncertainty for the party liable for acts of infringement.

The referring court also requests the CJEU to establish whether all claims in respect of a set of acts of infringement brought after more than three years have elapsed from when first, the right has been finally granted and, second, the holder had knowledge of that set of acts and of the identity of the party liable for them, irrespective of the date of each individual act forming part of that set of acts, are time barred, or whether only claims in respect of acts which took place more than three years before those claims were brought are time barred.

The CJEU ruled that claims of the right holder in respect of a set of acts of infringement brought more  than three years have elapsed are time barred only from when, first, the plant variety right was finally granted and, second, the holder had knowledge of each individual act forming part of that set of acts and of the identity of the party liable for them. An interpretation according to which the end of the three-year period were to result in the prescription of all acts of infringement of the holder’s rights, would run counter to the objective of Article 96 of Regulation No 2100/94.

IPPT20211014, CJEU, Nadercott mandarin trees

C186/18 - ECLI:EU:C:2021:849