The farmer started growing the fruit in 2006, and five years later was sued for it, having the case dragged through a Commercial Court, the Murcia Provisional Court and the Supreme Court. With around 4,400 trees planted by Jose Canovas Pardo on his estate, it only took a few months for action to take place when he was sent an injunction requiring he cease the growing of such fruit by Geslive, the company managing the rights to the ‘nadorcott’ in Spain and Portugal.
The requirement continued until 2011 when a Commercial Court hearing was requested, demanding not only the farmer stop his crop from growing, but demanding the destruction of his trees in the process, on top of financial compensation.
The Commercial Court dismissed the case on the grounds that according to European law, the facts were time-barred, and the limit for lodging a complaint was three years from the time protection was granted.
However, CVVP, the original naming company, appealed to the Provincial Court who agreed in favour of the claimant and ordered Mr Pardo to pay around 32,000 euros.
Mr Pardo, who took it to the Supreme Court, faced doubts as to how to deal with the situation and sought advice from the CJEU in Luxembourg in the process.
Speaking of the incident, the farmer said: “You could say that I have continued farming with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head.”
He went on to say: “When the court ruled in my favour, I thought that the Murcia Supreme Court would also do so, but that was not the case.”
“I have tried to regularise the situation but, as it is a patent, I have to buy it from farmers and it is very expensive,” said Mr Pardo of one possible solution to buy permission to grow the fruit
Looking to the future, the farmer said: “I have been looking for other varieties in case the ruling was not in my favour… I wouldn’t have minded so much as long as I could have put an end to it.”
Legal advisers have suggested that the case will take another three to six months to come to a conclusion.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.