Novozymes awarded damage payment for patent infringement

Novozymes A/S (Bagsvaerd, Denmark) awarded double damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Danisco found to have wilfully infringed Novozymes' patent.

A federal court in Delaware Friday, February 16, 2007 ordered Danisco to pay damages of USD 4,088,584 plus prejudgment interest for infringing Novozymes’ U.S. Patent No. 6,867,031 covering Spezyme® Ethyl, an enzyme used to manufacture bioethanol. The federal court also found that Danisco wilfully infringed Novozymes’ patent and that the case was exceptional. As a result, the court doubled the damages and also awarded Novozymes attorneys’ fees and costs.

The court also issued a permanent injunction against Danisco preventing future violations of Novozymes’ patent.

The case began in March 2005 when Novozymes brought a patent infringement litigation against Genencor International Inc., which was subsequently acquired by Danisco A/S. The litigation was based on the sales of Genencor’s product Spezyme® Ethyl to the American market for bioethanol and other industries.

In August 2006, a Federal District Court in Delaware, USA held that Spezyme® Ethyl infringed Novozymes’ patent. At that time, Danisco chose to withdraw the product from the market.

Kristian Merser, General Counsel at Novozymes, stated, “We are satisfied that the court concluded that Danisco wilfully infringed Novozymes’ patent rights and entered a permanent injunction against Danisco. Novozymes invests a lot of money in research and development in order to provide and improve products for our customers. Our patents protect this investment and insure that our competitors compete fairly with us in the market place.”

The damage payment of DKK 45 - 50 million will have a positive effect on Novozymes’ EBIT and net result for 2007, provided the decision of the court is not appealed. In addition, the awarded prejudgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, which have not yet been settled by the court, are also expected to affect results positively.

Both Novozymes and Danisco now have 30 days to appeal against the ruling.