Royal FloraHolland wins battle in potential ocean freight war

Royal FloraHolland (RFH) has won the interim injunction against Floration Europe regarding an ocean freight patent for rose and chrysanthemum. The judge in The Hague rejected the claims that were made by Floration. Whether Floration is going ahead with an appeal or proceedings on the merits isn’t clear yet.

“It was unfortunate that we got this particular judge. She’s not known as someone who’s very decisive. And we’re dealing with a complicated technique, most people wouldn’t know much about it”, says Susanne Jones. She believes the judge didn’t fully understand the technique that Royal FloraHolland has been using for its ocean freight activities. Jones thinks it’s a shame that the judge, patent judge Marije Knijff, couldn’t be more decisive.


The director of Floration Europe from Bovenkarspel in the province of Noord-Holland has just received the news from her lawyer Karel Bisschop of Hogan Lovells in Amsterdam – she’s lost the interim injunction against the auction. The ruling has been rejected. Royal FloraHolland doesn’t have to pay tens of millions of euros of compensation payments, and they don’t have to stop shipping roses and chrysanthemums by ocean freight.

Jones says that her lawyer Karel Bisschop is unfazed by the decision. “Losing a battle doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t win the war. You can lose an interim injunction, and still win the proceedings on the merits. But of course, it’s disappointing. This case is too important for an interim injunction.”

How things will progress from here isn’t clear yet. “We don’t know yet what we’re going to do. That’s something we need to discuss now.” Jones says that she’s certainly not pessimistic about a potential follow-up.

Only a battle

When the interim injunction took place in the court of The Hague on the 2nd of March, Floration indicated that it was only a battle, not war yet. It was suggested that proceedings on the merits might be next, and that preparations for such proceedings were already underway. It takes a year to start proceedings on the merits, and the procedure can last several years. Alternatively, Floration could appeal the judge’s decision on the interim injunction.

Royal FloraHolland is pleased with the outcome, reports spokesperson Michel van Schie. It became clear during the court case that the auction hasn’t decided yet if they want to continue with their ocean freight activities and turn it into a commercial service. That’s still the case, says Van Schie. “The small-scale pilots still need to be evaluated, both internally and with growers. But it’s good to know that at least we have the option to continue with ocean freight.”

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