Growers lose patent case against USDA, grape commission

10/14/2013 06:19:00 PM
Coral Beach

The Ludys propagated thousands of vines in plain view in more than one location, the judge wrote. Eventually some of the vines produced enough grapes to market. However, because of the patent issue, they were sold as Thompson seedless, according to the judge’s ruling.

The planting and sale of the grapes by the Ludys was the heart of the other grower’s “public use” argument against the USDA and the commission.

However, the judge said, even though the vines were in public view the grapes they produced were not in public use because the plant stock had been ill-gotten and the fruit was not marketed as the named varieties.

Also, the judge said, not even the inventors of the two varieties — David Ramming and Ronald Tarailo from the USDA breeding facility — could identify the Scarlet Royal and Autumn King varieties in the courtroom when they were presented with grapes and plant material.

That lack of visually identifiable traits proved no one knew the specific varieties were in use, the judge wrote, making the public use argument unsupportable.

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NC  |  October, 15, 2013 at 01:27 PM

Shouldn't that lack of identifiable traits also have prevented the grape varieties from having been patented in the first place? If even the inventors cannot distinguish them from other grapes, why do they have a patent?

Coral Beach    
October, 15, 2013 at 04:23 PM

The researchers could not identify the grape varieties based on a visual inspection in the courtroom, according to the judge. With laboratory equipment scientists can easily identify different varieties. Coral Beach, staff writer

Chris Gardella    
Delano California  |  October, 18, 2013 at 02:44 PM

This article is a joke. A misrepresentation of the facts that falsely incriminates some individuals mentioned herein.

Coral Beach    
The Packer  |  October, 18, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Chris, All of the information regarding the facts of the case came from the actual findings of fact and ruling written by the judge on this case. Please feel free to e-mail me directly at if you have further questions. Respectfully, Coral Beach, staff writer

Don Ludy    
Delano  |  October, 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Coral, What ruling did you read please print it! Your article is a total misrepresentation of the facts.

Coral Beach    
The Packer  |  October, 19, 2013 at 11:29 PM

Don, As stated in my response to Chris (above)the facts for this story came from the judge's ruling. It is Document No. 261 in the case and was filed on Sept. 12. The formal name of the document is "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order." The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The case number is 1:07-cv-01619. The documents are public record. Coral Beach, staff writer

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