Case of Infringement on Technical Secrets of Parent "W68" of New Variety of Hybrid Maize Plant —— Hebei Huasui Seed Industry Co., Ltd. vs. Wuwei City Bosheng Seed Industry Co., Ltd., Case of Dispute over Infringement on Technical Secrets

May 6, 2023

Case Brief

Huasui Seed Industry was the variety rights holder of "Wannuo 2000", a new variety of maize plant, and alleged to be the rights holder of technical secrets of parent "W68" of "Wannuo 2000". Huasui Seed Industry sued Bosheng Seed Industry for infringing on the technical secrets of "W68” and requested for an order of Bosheng Seed Industry assuming relevant infringement liabilities.

Result of Award

The Intermediate People's Court of Lanzhou City, Gansu Province held in the first instance that Bosheng Seed Industry constituted an infringement on rights and interests of technical secrets of "W68” and ordered it to cease the infringement and pay compensation for economic losses and reasonable expenses for safeguarding rights in a total sum of CNY 1.505 million. Bosheng Seed Industry was dissatisfied and filed an appeal, alleging that "W68" as a parent was not a protection object of business secrets. The Supreme People's Court held in the second instance that, the breeding materials with business value obtained from breeding innovation activities could obtain legal protection by law as business secrets under the circumstances of being unknown to the general public, subject to appropriate confidentiality, or the like. It was therefore ordered to reject the appeal and uphold the original sentence.

Typical Significance

The present case, as heard by the Supreme People's Court, is the first case of business secrets involving breeding materials. The judgment specifies the protection condition and protection path of the parent of new variety of hybrid maize plant as a business secret, which represents an active exploration of the people's court on protecting breeding achievements by comprehensively utilizing a plurality of intellectual property protection means, including new plant variety, patent and business secret, and is beneficial to inspire original and continuous innovation in breeding and construct a diversified and three-dimensional comprehensive legal protection system for breeding achievements.

(Source: Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China)