The judge of the interim court has decided that HE Licenties may continue to assert their rights flowing from a patent for a dyeing method for potted orchids. They may also continue to enforce the ruling from earlier this year, which stated that VG Colours is infringing on the patent.
VG Colours initiated the interim injunction, because they wanted that HE Licenties would stop the enforcement of the 19 June 2019 ruling immediately. They also wanted to prohibit HE Licenties to contact other parties in the market regarding the infringement on this patent. And VG Colours wanted to oblige HE Licenties to send a rectification to all parties they had informed in week 37 that buying phalaenopsis dyed by VG Colours would imply complicity in the infringement.
On Friday 11 October 2019, the judge decided in an interim order to dismiss all of VG Colours’ claims, and ruled that VG Colours must pay the full legal costs (more than €20,000).
HE Licenties want calm restored
Guus van der Kaaden, director of HE Licenties, is very pleased with the ruling of the interim court: “This confirmation from the judge should bring clarity and hopefully, calm will be restored now on the Dutch and European markets. In any case, we’ll continue to enforce our Dutch and European patents and we’ll focus on keeping the Dutch and European markets free from infringement, so that our licensees can do their work without any further problems.”
19 June 2019 ruling
The judge ruled on 19 June 2019 that the blue orchids of VG Colours were an infringement on a patent belonging to HE Licenties and told VG Colours to stop the infringement. HE Licenties almost immediately enforced the ruling, via letters to VG Colours’ buyers, among other things. Anyone buying/selling, transporting or stocking the coloured plants is complicit and liable, HE Licenties stated.
VG Colours disappointed
VG Colours is of the opinion that the 19 June 2019 ruling was based on a legal error. According to the company from De Lier, the patent was clearly invalid (partly based on new evidence). The company is challenging the ruling in an appeal procedure, which is to take place in November. Director Andre van Geest: “The outcome of the interim injunction is very disappointing. We want an end to the unrest in the coloured pot-orchid market. We need to be able to trade freely. We’re still colouring plants using our own techniques, but we’ve noticed that customers are more cautious or have even stopped buying for now. We’re still waiting for the fully written-out interim injunction decision. And we asked the judge to confirm that we aren’t infringing on anyone else’s patents with our dyed plants.”
Here you can read more about the dispute between VG Colours and HE Licenties and the disruption of the dyed-phalaenopsis market.