Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 6. Patented Plant Material

Mediation Required Before Judicial Action

80-5-604. Mediation required before judicial action. (1) Except as provided in subsection (8), a claimant shall seek mediation before seeking judicial relief regarding a claim that a grower has planted, grown, or retained seed or any plant part from a protected plant in violation of the intellectual property rights of another person.

(2) The claimant shall notify the grower by certified mail and shall also advise the department of the intellectual property claim.

(3) (a) A mediator chosen pursuant to this section must:

(i) be selected and agreed upon by the claimant and the grower;

(ii) be an attorney; and

(iii) possess the necessary skills and qualifications to be a mediator.

(b) Preference must be given to attorneys with experience in intellectual property claims.

(4) (a) The department shall maintain a list of qualified mediators willing to perform mediation under this part. Both parties to an action may suggest names of a mediator as soon as the grower and the department are notified of the claim. The parties are not limited to using mediators from the department's list.

(b) The parties shall exercise good faith and diligence in selection of the mediator. If the parties exercise good faith and diligence and are unable to agree upon a mediator within 90 days of notice to the grower, either party may seek judicial relief.

(5) (a) The selected mediator shall schedule mediation to begin within 30 days at a location agreeable to both parties. The parties shall conclude mediation within 30 days of commencement of mediation unless the parties agree to a longer mediation period.

(b) The parties shall share equally in the costs of the mediator and mediation unless a different cost-sharing arrangement is agreed to by the parties.

(6) A mediation that results in agreement between the claimant and the grower must be documented by the mediator and signed by an authorized representative of each party. The mediator shall retain an original copy of the signed agreement. The agreement is binding upon the claimant and the grower.

(7) The deliberations and the outcome of the mediation may not be made public unless agreed to by the grower and the claimant.

(8) The requirement for mediation does not apply to a claimant seeking judicial relief to conduct sampling pursuant to 80-5-603 and may not be used to delay the ability of a claimant or grower to obtain samples. An action filed to secure evidence following a grower's refusal to allow entry does not violate the mediation requirements of this section.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 260, L. 2011.