Japan and China have entered a huge intellectual property dispute over the rights to the carnation flower.
Japanese growers are claiming that carnations, to which they own patents in 35% of all varieties, are being illegal grown by Chinese farmers. Â
Whilst this may seem an obscure subject of a patent, the carnation has a massive market in AsiaÂ and half a billion a year are bought in Japan.
Kirin Green & Flower, the owners of the patents have failed in their attempt to encourage China to comply with the law and pay substantial royalties. It is reported that of the 6,000 Chinese farms which grow carnations, fewer than ten actually pay royalties to the Japanese company.
This dispute will surely now be referred to the Courts, however, future policing of such a crime is very difficult as once the seeds have been planted, detection of the infringement is almost impossible.