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4 August 2015Americas

Fibria’s and Eldorado’s eucalyptus breeds are 99% similar, Brazilian court rules

A Brazilian court has confirmed that a eucalyptus breed produced by biotechnology company Eldorado Brasil Celulose is genetically identical to pulp producer Fibria Celulose’s own cultivar product VTO2.

The 4th Civil Court of Três Lagoas, which is in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, agreed with evidence submitted by Fibria that the eucalyptus breeds are 99.99% identical.

Fibria filed the lawsuit in 2013 after it received an anonymous message that Eldorado had been allegedly cultivating its own version of the VTO2 at its plantations in Mato Grosso do Sul, central-western Brazil.

The company requested that Eldorado produce samples of the allegedly identical plant variety. The Brazilian court earlier granted Fibria’s request for a preliminary injunction and handed over six samples of Eldorado’s product for testing.

Assessing the technical report submitted by Fibria, the Brazilian court ruled on July 22 that of the six samples of the allegedly infringing product submitted, five were identical to Fibria’s product.

The next step in the lawsuit will be to determine whether Eldorado infringed Fibria’s plant variety rights.

Fibria was granted protection for the plant variety in 2007. Under Brazilian law, a right owner is granted 15 years of exclusivity, but that stretches to 18 years for woody plants such as eucalypts.

If a party is found to have infringed a plant variety product then it is required to pay 20% of the commercial value of the product. It is also considered a criminal action.

Gabriel Di Blasi, partner at law firm Di Blasi, Parente & Associados and representing the plaintiff, told LSIPR that Fibria will be filing an infringement claim at the court.

Eldorado could not be reached for comment.

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