Summary Judgments in Strawberry-Breeding Dispute Favor Both Sides
A federal court has granted summary judgment on a majority of issues in a dispute between scientists and the University of California Davis centered on the intellectual property rights of two strawberry varieties. Cal. Berry Cultivars, Inc. v. Regents of U. of Cal., No. 16-2477 (N.D. Cal., filed May 2, 2015). Two former UC Davis scientists and their company sued the university alleging it refused to license the strawberry varieties they invented; additional details on the complaint appear in Issue 604 of this Update.
The court granted summary judgment on most of the issues, leaving open the scientists’ assertions that UC Davis breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as well as the unfair competition claim. However, because the court also ruled in favor of UC Davis’ breach of contract claim, it noted that the jury verdict and final judgment may “sock it to both sides . . . and it may make sense from an equitable standpoint as well.”