Novozymes prevails in patent trial against Danisco

Last night (Danish time) a ruling was issued in the US legal proceedings between Novozymes and Danisco. Novozymes won the case which has lasted 1½ years and concerned an infringement of one of Novozymes´patents on enzymes for bioethanol.

The case started in the fall of 2004 when Novozymes discovered that Genencor International Inc (later bought by Danisco) was selling enzymes protected by Novozymes´patent rights to the booming American ethanol market.

Kristian Merser, general counsel in Novozymes states: ”We are very pleased with the decision but we are obviously annoyed by the harm the patent infringement has caused on our market for biofuel enzymes. It´s very satisfactory that the court agreed that our patent is valid and has been infringed – considering the large amount of resources we use on research, development and patenting.”

Danisco announced today that the company has withdrawn the product that infringed Novozymes’ patent (Spezyme(R) Ethyl) from the market. Poul Ruben Andersen, marketing director for fuel ethanol in Novozymes adds: ”We are ready to deliver products (e.g. Liquozyme(R) and Termamyl(R)) to the customers replacing the infringing product that Danisco has withdrawn from the market. We are looking forward to a larger turnover and we have new products in the pipeline for the biofuel market.

The judge concluded the following: ”... that the Defendants have infringed claims 1, 3 and 5 of the ´031 patent, that those claims are valid, and that the ´031 patent is enforceable. Accordingly, this case will proceed to the second phase trial to decide the issues of willfulness and damages.”

The size of the damages will be decided in the fall. Novozymes has claimed several million US dollars in damages for loss of profits.