The Guardia Civil has found a clandestine farm planted with protected fruit varieties in the municipality of Jumilla. The second stage of the operation Royalty, devised to locate plantations of fruit varieties whose reproduction and multiplication is subject to the payment of royalties to the patent holder, has resulted in the arrest of the holding's owner on suspicion of an offence against intellectual property laws.
The Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) kicked off the second stage of the operation after detecting a farm in Jumilla where apricots of the Albasol variety (genus Prunus armeniaca), which are patented and registered, were allegedly being grown without permission.
Given the suspicions that the farm was carrying out the illegal cultivation and evading the payment of the fees, the Guardia Civil conducted sampling in order to determine the origin of the plant material investigated.
The analysis of samples allowed the researchers to confirm that the plant material used was protected under intellectual property regulations, and thus proceeded to the imputation of the holding's owner.
Earlier this year, the Seprona started the Operation Royalty; an investigation aimed at stopping the cultivation of protected fruit varieties. The first stage finished in April with the imputation of four people as alleged perpetrators of crimes against intellectual property laws, and with the seizure of 4,500 plants in Jumilla and Abarán.
The exploitation of protected plant varieties without permission from the owners is a crime which can be punished with between six months and two years in prison.