Danisco win European Patent Office Appeal

13-07-2012 | | |

The European Patent Office’s Technical Board of Appeal has ruled in favour of Danisco, revoking a Novozyme patent on a process involving the manufacture of animal feed containing salt-coated enzyme granules by steam pelleting.

In a ruling favouring Danisco, on June 29, the Technical Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked Novozymes’ animal feed enzyme patent, European Patent 1,804,592 (EP ‘592), in its entirety throughout Europe.

The Novozymes’ patent that was revoked involves a process of manufacturing an animal feed composition by steam pelleting which contains salt-coated enzyme granules.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 – which DuPont acquired in May 2011 – to engage in commercial activities in Europe and provide customers with innovative solutions in the animal feed business.

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, United Kingdom and Germany, but due to this revocation, it is now expected that those lawsuits will either be dismissed or withdrawn.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 will also seek compensation for the damage caused by a preliminary injunction originally obtained by Novozymes in Denmark.  On May 25, 2012, before the Technical Board of Appeal revoked the EP’592 patent, the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen had revoked that preliminary injunction and ordered Novozymes to pay Danisco 1.5 million DKK (€201,700/US$246,100) in legal costs.