The most important plant patent trial of the early 21st century just took place in northern California. California Berry Cultivars v. The Regents of the University of California sorts out “stakeholder” rights associated with the University system’s vaunted strawberry breeding program.
Two esteemed UC Davis professors left their academic positions and formed California Berry Cultivars (CBC) in order to commercialize their longstanding research accomplishments. They had spent their careers at the University’s land grant college propagating and discovering new and improved varieties of strawberries. In a real sense, these professors were the University’s strawberry breeding program.
The jury verdict is in. Cribbing from an old Rolling Stones song, it left the professors’ reputations in tatters; and their private business interests, shattered.
In the fog of trial, one thing proved certain: a discovery misconduct jury instruction must have had a devastating impact on juror psyches from a neuropsychological standpoint. In simple terms, this post explains why.