Neptune Responds to US Patent Office Ruling
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. ("Neptune" or the "Corporation") (Nasdaq: NEPT), announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") recently issued a Right of Appeal Notice in an inter partes reexamination of Neptune's U.S. Patent No. 8,030,348 ("the '348 Patent"). Despite the USPTO's decision, the '348 Patent is still valid as Neptune has the right to appeal, which it intends to do.
Enzymotec Ltd. ("Enzymotec"), in yet another clear attempt to shift focus from the on-going International Trade Commission ("ITC") investigation of its infringement of other Neptune patents, issued a press release addressing the '348 Patent decision. However, Enzymotec failed to highlight that the decision has no impact on the ITC investigation into infringement of Neptune's other composition of matter patents, as well as related federal court actions initiated by Neptune against Enzymotec and its distributors. Furthermore, the decision has no impact on Neptune's license agreements with Rimfrost and Aker BioMarine.
The ITC operates independently of the USPTO and, in any event, the '348 Patent is not included as part of the ITC's investigation, which is focused on Neptune's composition of matter patents numbered US 8,278,351 and US 8,383,675. The suggestion that a rejection of a parent patent will lead to the same for continuation patents, which have different claims, is plainly untrue. All of Neptune's other patents remain valid and enforceable. In addition, and despite all the re-examinations and reviews filed by our competitors, the USPTO continues to grant patents to Neptune.
Neptune remains confident in its legal strategy and will continue to actively defend its intellectual property. The Corporation will continue to pursue Enzymotec before the ITC, with the ITC hearing (trial) scheduled to commence on April 28, 2014. A decision will be rendered by the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") within a few months afterwards. Should the ITC rule in favour of Neptune and Acasti, then Enzymotec, would be banned from importing infringing products in the USA.
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