European Patent Office revokes Novozyme feed patent
By DuPontFeatures Nutrition and Feed Research Business/Policy Global Poultry Production Production
Jul. 6, 2012, Brussels, Belgium – In a ruling favoring Danisco, on June 29, the Technical Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked Novozymes’ animal feed enzyme patent, European Patent 1,804,592 (EP ‘592), in its entirety throughout Europe.
The Novozymes’ patent that was revoked involves a process of manufacturing an animal feed composition by steam pelleting which contains salt-coated enzyme granules. This revocation restores the ability of Danisco – which DuPont acquired in May 2011 – to engage in commercial activities in Europe and provide customers with innovative solutions in the animal feed business.
“DuPont is very pleased with the revocation of Novozymes’ invalid patent. The outcome provides our customers with choice and recognizes our rights in the marketplace as a true innovator. We intend to vigorously pursue all available avenues to protect our products and the market,” Soonhee Jang, vice president, IP Strategy and Chief IP Counsel, DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “From the beginning, Danisco believed that Novozymes’ attempted enforcement was a wholly unjustified attempt to block Danisco’s innovative products from the market, as Novozymes’ patent was clearly invalid and not infringed.”
The patent was originally revoked by the EPO’s Opposition Division on July 7, 2011, but Novozymes appealed that decision to the Technical Board of Appeal. Novozymes had tried to enforce the EP’592 patent against Danisco in Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany, but due to this revocation, it is now expected that those lawsuits will either be dismissed or withdrawn. In addition, Danisco is expected to recover its legal costs.
Danisco will also seek compensation for the damage caused by a preliminary injunction originally obtained by Novozymes in Denmark. On May 25, 2012, before the Technical Board of Appeal revoked the EP’592 patent, the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen had revoked that preliminary injunction and ordered Novozymes to pay Danisco 1.5 million DKK (Danish krone) in legal costs.
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