July 10, 2012
The Technical Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) cancelled Novozymes' animal feed enzyme patent, European Patent 1,804,592 (EP'592), in its entirety throughout Europe and instead favoured Danisco in a ruling on June 29.
The Novozymes' patent that was revoked involves a process of manufacturing an animal feed composition by steam pelleting which contains salt-coated enzyme granules.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 to engage in commercial activities in Europe in the animal feed business.
"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," Soonhee Jang, vice president, IP Strategy and Chief IP Counsel, DuPont Industrial Biosciences commented on the outcome.
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, UK and Germany, but due to this revocation, it is now expected that those lawsuits will either be dismissed or withdrawn.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 also intends to seek compensation for the damage caused by a preliminary injunction originally obtained by Novozymes in Denmark. On May 25, 2012, the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen had revoked that preliminary injunction and ordered Novozymes to pay Danisco DKK1.5 million (US$248,000) in legal costs.