NDSU Seed Dept. settles PVP infringement and seed law violations

Farm Forum

The North Dakota State Seed Department has settled a case concerning state seed law violations by a Kidder County man for an illegal sale of a protected variety.

The Steele man agreed to pay the State Seed Department $6,500 in fines for illegally selling seeds of Souris oats. Souris, a North Dakota State University release, is licensed to the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association. Only members of the association’s Dakota Select Seeds marketing group are authorized to produce and sell Souris seeds.

In addition, Souris oats is protected under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA), which is a federal law that protects the production and marketing rights of the owner. The 1994 amendments to the PVPA prohibit the sale of any farmer-saved seed without authorization from the variety owner.

In addition to the PVPA violation, the sale violated several North Dakota seed laws, including labeling and seed testing requirements.

In a separate settlement, he agreed to pay the NDSU Research Foundation, which owns Souris, the sum of $15,000 for infringing on NDSU’s intellectual property rights. The total fines for this illegal sale of 321 bushels of seeds were $21,500.

“The North Dakota State Seed Department is responsible for the enforcement of seed laws in North Dakota and considers these violations very serious,” says Steve Sebesta, deputy seed commissioner. “State and federal seed laws were established to protect consumers and provide for the standardization of testing and labeling requirements. Illegal seed sales are detrimental to the state’s seed industry and the hundreds of legitimate seed producers, conditioners and retailers engaged in legal seed trading.”