The years-long dispute between Certhon and PlantLab has come to an end now that the European Patent Office has revoked PlantLab's European patent. PlantLab's patent EP2348841 was directed to the application of LED lighting in climate chambers in combination with controlled leaf and root heating. Certhon argued at the European Patent Office that the technology on which the European patent is based has been general prior art since the 1990s and does not contain any new techniques. The European Patent Office reversed the decision because of the patent "not being inventive."
The dispute between Certhon and PlantLab did not only play out at the European Patent Office; PlantLab initiated several proceedings before the Court of Justice The Hague over the years, all of them in connection with PlantLab's claim that Certhon was infringing the European patent (and the Dutch patent NL2002091 derived from it). Back in May 2018, the Court of Justice The Hague ruled that Certhon did not infringe either of PlantLab's patents, and this judgment was upheld in the appeal initiated by PlantLab against this judgment of the Court of Justice The Hague. The Hague Court of Appeal also ruled that Certhon did not infringe the PlantLab patents.
Court of appeal
The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on the invalidity of the Dutch patent until the decision of the European Patent Office on the European patent. With the revocation of the European patent, the right to exist of the Dutch patent has also been revoked. This means an end to both the European patent and the Dutch patent of PlantLab.
Leon van Duijn of PlantLab: "On 10 November, the EPO found that one claim of the six of the patent was not sufficiently new, so, unfortunately, the patent has now expired as a whole. The method of working, however, was found to be novel. The trajectory of the first PlantLab Indoor Farming patent in Europe will now be continued. This first patent is only one of the patents that PlantLab has in its portfolio. An application (divisional of the first patent) is pending at the EPO that will also secure the PlantLab IP. This also has the same priority date (October 13, 2008). We expect that a final decision on this Indoor Farming patent status will be made in the coming year."