Antonio Munoz y Cia SA v Frumar Ltd Case C-253-00

17 October 2002

EC Regulations on fruit varieties – DNA technology – Direct applicability of Regulations by civil action in member state. Action brought by a grape producer to enforce compliance by a competitor with EC Regulations on the common organisation of the market in table grapes. The case involved the application of DNA technology to identifying the genetic composition of the grapes in order to prove that they were in fact of different variety from that claimed by the competitor. The trial judge (Laddie J, [1999] FSR 872) accepted the DNA and other evidence and held that the defendants had breached the regulations by applying the wrong variety names to grapes which they had imported and sold. However, he held that a breach of the Regulations did not give rise to a civil right of action on the part of a competitor such as the plaintiff. The Court of Appeal referred the case to the ECJ, which ruled that such a breach does give rise to a civil right of action in the part of a competing producer such as Muñoz.

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