Seed companies are hiring private investigators, says Lorne Hadley, executive director of the CanadianPlant Technology Agency.
He said the agency sometimes turns to private investigators, usually retired police officers, to go undercover to buy seed from suspected violators.
He said his agency has co-ordinated 70 investigations resulting in “a number of cases going to court,” all of which were settled prior to trial.
In four cases, alleged violators paid seed companies $200,000 in compensation.
One of the most important changes under UPOV ’91 (an international system that Canada signed on to last year) is that breeders’ rights apply not only to purchased seeds, but also to harvests from those seeds.
“Before (UPOV ’91) I had to catch someone selling brown bag seed,” Hadley told a meeting of Manitoba seed growers.
“Now all we have to do is find where it is.”