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European patent PlantLab annulled after Certhon objection

  • European patent PlantLab annulled after Certhon objection

Poeldijk - The years-long dispute between Certhon and PlantLab has finally come to an end now that the European Patent Office has revoked PlantLab’s European patent. PlantLab’s patent EP2348841 was directed to the application of LED lighting in climate chambers in combination with controlled leaf and root heating. Certhon successfully argued at the European Patent Office that the technology on which the European patent is based has been general prior art since the 1990s and does not contain any new techniques. Because this patent is therefore not inventive, the European Patent Office reversed its decision to grant the patent and revoked it.

The dispute between Certhon and PlantLab was extensive and did not only play out at the European Patent Office. PlantLab initiated several proceedings before the Court of Justice The Hague over the years, all in connection with PlantLab’s claim that Certhon was infringing the European patent (and the Dutch patent NL2002091 derived from it). Back in May 2018, the Court of Justice The Hague ruled that Certhon did not infringe either of PlantLab’s patents, nullifying the Dutch patent. This judgment was upheld in the appeal initiated by PlantLab against this judgment of the Court of Justice The Hague. The Hague Court of Appeal also ruled that Certhon did not infringe the PlantLab patents. John van der Sande, Chief Innovation Officer at Certhon: “It costs us a lot of time, as we knew we were not at fault. But the fact that the European patent on indoor farming is not valid is, as we indicated earlier, a victory for the entire horticultural sector.”

Judgment of the Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on the invalidity of the Dutch patent until the decision of the European Patent Office on the European patent. With the revocation of the European patent, the right to exist of the Dutch patent has also revoked. This means an end to both the European patent and the Dutch patent of PlantLab.

PlantLab patents not inventive
Certhon has always been confident in its view of the lack of the inventive step in these PlantLab patents from the start of the dispute with PlantLab. “The confirmation of our vision by the European Patent Office strengthens us in our technical strategy and knowledge to execute our strategy in the coming years,” Van der Sande said.

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