The PlantLab Patents regarding the application of LED lighting in climate chambers, in combination with controlled leaf and root heating (NL 2 002 091 and EP 2 348 814), have been ruled out as null and void by the Hague Court of Appeal, putting an end to years of a legal battle between PlantLab and Certhon as reported by Certhon’s latest press release.
The Origins of PlantLab v Certhon
In 2013, PlantLab accused Certhon of infringing one of its patents during the construction of an indoor farm. After various failed negotiations to integrate a license between both parties, PlantLab engaged in legal proceedings against Certhon. During the trial, Certhon managed to convince both the Netherlands Patent Office, the Court of The Hague, The Court of Appeal of The Hague as well as the European Patent Office of its position and the lack of innovation in these patents. Certhon proved that the specific technique, on which PlantLab’s patents were based, has been widely used in the sector since the 1990s. After gathering conclusive evidence, the Dutch, as well as the European patent of PlantLab, were considered null and void and PlantLab compensated Certhon for its legal costs.
No basis for new patents
With the final decision of the Court of Appeal of The Hague, this issue is finally put to rest. PlantLab’s patent, which was declared invalid in November 2021, lacks innovation. Certhon fears, nonetheless, that PlantLab will further patent application.
“However, we fear that PlantLab will continue on the same path,” says John van der Sande, Chief Innovation Officer at Certhon. “In fact, they are still engaged in patent applications based on the same principles and techniques as the patents that were determined invalid. There should not be a revenue model in enforcing licenses for patents that are not innovative at all. That is not a sign of innovating, but in fact, it slows down innovation for the entire industry”.