The strength of breeding firm Rústicas del Guadalquivir is clear from the new varieties for which it is seeking protection in the EU. It also holds the exclusive license for the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean Arc, including Morocco and Turkey, among others.
It should be noted that the protection is valid for 35 years from the right being granted. In the case of the “Snowchaser” variety, which is widely distributed in Huelva, it will be valid until 2040.
Rústicas del Guadalquivir has not granted multiplication licenses for any of its blueberry varieties. It is therefore the only entity authorised to produce and market plants of the varieties on the list. This means that it is illegal to produce or supply plants through any other channel. The establishment and cultivation of a multiplied plant without authorisation exposes the producer to being prosecuted for crimes against industrial property, as per Article 274.4 of the Spanish Penal Code; convictions can carry jail terms.
The genetic profiling of the varieties in an official database allows their identification in the field from a sample taken from a single leaf in the field, or from a tub of fruit from a supermarket shelf, which greatly facilitates the detection of offenders.
This year several cases against offenders have been resolved, with prison sentences and fines in various courts in the province of Huelva. The “pirating” of varieties constitutes a crime. Like any other violation of the law, it jeopardises the credibility of the sector in the markets and leads to unfair competition with the rest of the sector.
The vast majority of the sector is focusing on innovation through varietal development, such as by means of breeding programmes, acquisition of variety licences, establishment of trial fields, or participation in marketing groups of differentiated varieties with high added value. All of this implies great effort and a significant investment for the sector and makes clear the importance of respecting plant variety rights and the great value that the development of varieties brings to production as a whole.