The current study has the purpose to analyse two recent decisions about distinct plant varieties of durum wheat: the Cappelli decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority and the San Carlo judgment of the Tribunale di Roma. Both cases focuses, although in a different way, on exclusive rights over plant varieties. In the San Carlo instance, the exclusive rights arise from the grant of a national plant variety right over the new variety. Whereas, in the Cappelli case, there has been a de facto privatization of an ancient variety, deprived of any intellectual property right whatsoever.
The study also aims at highlighting the importance of plant breeding for agricultural purposes in order to develop more productive, resistant, and sustainable varieties. To this end, it is deemed necessary to allow the breeder’s return on investment, through the recognition of an exclusive right on the new variety. However, such an exclusive right shall not be limitless nor concern public-domain varieties.
Keywords: Plant breeding; plant variety; plant variety right; breeder’s right; intellectual property; seed marketing legislation.