Enzymotec Ltd. Announces a Final Decision Issued by the USPTO Rejecting All the Claims in Neptune's Patent
Enzymotec Ltd. (Nasdaq: ENZY) ("Enzymotec" or the "Company"), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative bio-active lipid ingredients, announced today that on April 18, 2014 the US Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") issued a final decision in the inter partes reexamination of Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, Inc. (Nasdaq: NEPT) ("Neptune") 8,030,348 patent rejecting all of the claims. Neptune may appeal this decision, but cannot submit any additional evidence or claim amendments.
"This final decision by the USPTO further reinforces our belief that Neptune's patents can be invalidated. The current USPTO decision followed previous unfavorable decisions of the USPTO regarding members of the 8,030,348 patent family and the European Patent Office's revocation of Neptune's corresponding European patent. Neptune appealed the decision revoking the European patent and their appeal was dismissed in April 2013," said Dr. Ariel Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enzymotec. "As we already announced, we will continue in our efforts to challenge Neptune's patents and to vigorously contest their complaints."
As previously disclosed by Enzymotec, it is a party to a number of actions initiated by Neptune in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, in which Neptune has claimed that Enzymotec's krill oil products infringe certain of its patents, namely U.S. Patent Nos. 8,030,348, 8,278,351 and 8,383,675, (the "'348 patent," the "'351 patent" and the "'675 patent," respectively).
Additionally, in April 2013, Enzymotec received notice of an investigation by the ITC following complaints filed by Neptune and its subsidiary, Acasti Pharma Inc., alleging a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by reason of alleged infringement of the '351 patent and the '675 patent. In December 2013, the parties entered into a settlement term sheet that was subject to negotiation of a final written settlement agreement and the ITC case was stayed. On February 11, 2014, the parties informed the ITC Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") that they would request mediation and would be filing a motion for a further stay of ITC proceedings. The motion was granted and the stay was extended until April 14, 2014. The ITC hearing is scheduled to commence on April 28, 2014, and a decision by the ITC is expected by January 2015.
The current status of Neptune's patents at the USPTO is as follows:
'348 patent: In April 18, 2014, the USPTO Examiner issued a final decision rejecting all of the claims in the '348 patent.
'351 patent: In January 2014, a USPTO Examiner issued a Non-Final Office Action rejecting all the claims of the '351 patent in an ex parte reexamination. In addition, in March 2014, the USPTO issued a decision instituting an inter partes review of the '351 patent filed by Aker BioMarine AS, concluding that there is reasonable likelihood that Aker will prevail in demonstrating unpatentability of the '351 patent claims at issue. The USPTO also stayed the '351 ex parte reexamination pending completion of the inter partes review proceeding. In April 2014 Enzymotec filed petitions with the USPTO for inter partes review of the '351 Patent. These petitions have not yet been decided by the USPTO.
'675 patent: In February 2014, Enzymotec filed a petition with the USPTO for inter partes review of the '675 patent. That petition has not yet been decided by the USPTO.
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