The court cases concerning KUBO’s Ultra-Clima greenhouses patent has been decided in favour of Houweling’s Tomatoes. Greenhouse builders in America and Europe had challenged the validity of said patent. KUBO had exclusive patent rights from Houweling’s Tomatoes since the design and development of the greenhouse. The first sub-licence has now been awarded. The Dutch Prins Group may now also bring the concept to the market.
Houweling’s developed the Ultra-Clima greenhouse in close collaboration with KUBO. Houweling’s now grows tomatoes on a surface area of approximately 90 hectares, 29 of which are Ultra-Clima greenhouse designs. Houweling’s decided to protect its innovative concept in 2009 and concurrently applied for patents. These patents have long been contested by greenhouse builders in America and Europe, though the judges have ruled in favour of Houweling’s Tomatoes.
First sub-licence Awarded
A recent development is that greenhouse builders were given the option to obtain a sub-licence to sell their own version of a semi-closed greenhouse design. The first sub-licence has now been awarded. Prins Group in Kwintsheul (Municipality of Westland) may now also supply semi-closed greenhouses to business customers. However, KUBO continues to have exclusive rights to the Ultra-Clima® greenhouse. Therefore, Prins Group will now bring its own concept to the market.
Prins Group, Houweling’s Tomatoes, and KUBO will be intensively exchanging knowledge to further improve the concept. KUBO’s General Director, Wouter Kuiper stated, ‘This is a positive step to ensure that the semi-closed greenhouse becomes an even greater international success. Prins Group has its own customer base and expects to be able to provide many customers with this technology.’
The first Ultra-Clima greenhouse design has resulted in revolutionary changes in horticulture. The semi-closed greenhouse enables horticulture to thrive in regions where growing under glass was previously not an option. Over 700 hectares of Ultra-Clima greenhouses are currently in use, on every continent in the world. The greenhouse enables optimal climate control. Advantages of the Ultra-Clima® greenhouse include improved productivity, improved food safety, lower energy and water consumption, lower CO2 emissions and ultimately improved returns.