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Posted by Marketing on 16/09/2022.

Are you considering buying or selling a horse? A recent case in Germany highlights potential issues surrounding purchase and sale contracts

 

With thanks to our good friends at Mossensons Lawyers - Gold Sponsor of equestrian sport in WA and our Exclusive Legal Partner - comes some valuable information on a decision in Germany which serves as a great reminder of some of the issues to consider when drafting contracts relating to the purchase and sale of horses:

 

Legal feud over sperm of Totilas 

As many of you will remember, Totilas, a former world record holder for top dressage score in the grand prix freestyle dressage died in 2020. A person by the name of Simon Cornelis Visser, acquired Totilas in 2006. In 2010, he sold the horse to Paul Schockemohle for a premium price of €9.5 million.

Mr Visser froze 120 mililitres of Totilas semen extracted prior to the sale, and wanted to sell the semen after Totilas had died. The semen is valued at several million euros. Mr Schockemohle commenced legal proceedings in Germany, seeking to prevent the sale of the semen, and claiming that only he has exclusive breeding rights. Unfortunately, there was nothing agreed between the parties about breeding rights in the sale papers.

The German Court issued an interim injunction against Mr Visser, prohibiting him from selling Totilas semen commercially, and held that Mr Visser was only allowed to use Totilas semen for his own personal use. The Court held that the new owner, Mr Shockemohle has commercial rights over Totilas sperm.

Mr Visser has appealed against the German Court's decision on the basis that:

1) the German Court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter;

2) there was no merits in the case.

The case continues, and it is unclear when a ruling can be expected. We will keep you updated on the outcome of this case.

This situation highlights the importance of having a written agreement that deal with all issues of, and relating to, the sale and stipulating the jurisdiction to deal with matters if an issue does arise. A written agreement provides protection, and will almost always be cheaper than having to commence legal proceedings. This whole expensive dispute may have been avoided had the contract for the sale of Totilas provided express terms about breeding rights and handing over any samples as part of the sale.

If you are considering selling or buying a horse, we would strongly suggest that a lawyer be engaged to draft the documents of sale, or at least have the contract reviewed prior to signing, by a lawyer. Mossensons are able to assist in these matters.

 

Equestrian WA members are able to utilise a 15% reduction on legal fees with Mossensons. Members wishing to access the services of Mossensons can visit their website or contact (08) 9325 4988 to speak to someone directly. Be sure to mention your EWA membership when making enquiries so that the reduction can be applied to your matter.

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