Injunction issues in Totilas semen legal dispute *H&H Plus*

  • The legal case centres on who has the rights to semen of the legendary dressage stallion Totilas, who died last year. H&H hears from both sides of the dispute

    AN interim injunction has been issued against a previous owner of legendary dressage stallion Totilas, in a legal dispute over semen ownership rights.

    The Oldenburg regional court issued the injunction in favour of plaintiff Paul Schockemöhle, who owned the stallion until his death in December, and against Kees Visser. Mr Visser stood Totilas for one season when he owned him, and also collected semen to freeze.

    Mr Schockemöhle took legal action against Mr Visser, who had offered the semen for sale as now there is a limited supply, and great interest from breeders. The injunction prevents him from doing this.

    A spokesman for Mr Schockemöhle said: “Semen of the three-time World Champion and two-time European Champion Totilas may continue to be offered and sold only and exclusively by Paul Schockemöhle Hengsthaltung GmbH. This was decided by the court.

    “In 2010, Paul Schockemöhle acquired the KWPN stallion from Kees Visser, and put him into stud. Here the hope came true that Totilas would pass on his movement genius and his willingness to perform to his offspring. In Germany alone, the black stallion produced 28 licensed sons and 36 award-winning daughters.”

    Luc Schelstraete and Piotr Wawrzyniak, of Dutch equine law firm Schelstraete which is representing Mr Visser, told H&H they are appealing, and that they were surprised by the action, which they claim concerns semen already owned by Mr Visser.

    “It was collected months before the purchase, so we were surprised to receive a summons saying it was Mr Schockemöhle’s property,” ” Mr Schelstraete said, adding that he believes Dutch law rather than German applies in this case, and under Dutch law, the semen in question belongs to Mr Visser.

    “If you buy a mare, you don’t also own her foal, unless it’s inside her,” he said. “So we were very surprised, but for us, this is a political decision, nothing else.”

    It is expected that the appeal will be heard this month. Mr Schelstraete said some “interesting new information” will be introduced, while the question over which law applies will also form part of the argument.

    You might also be interested in…