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October 4, 2013

2 Min Read
Neptune Announces Partial Settlement in ITC Patent Investigation

QUEBECNeptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. and its subsidiary Acasti Pharma Inc. on Wednesday announced an agreement that partly resolves a probe by the International Trade Commission (ITC) into whether a number of companies infringed on Neptune's intellectual property.

The settlement is between Neptune and the following respondents, Rimfrost USA, LLC, Olympic Seafood AS, Olympic Biotec Ltd., Avoca, Inc. and Bioriginal Food & Science Corp, according to a press release from Neptune, a supplier of krill oil to the nutraceutical market.  

As part of the agreement, Neptune has granted the companies a worldwide, non-exclusive license in exchange for a royalty to market products that contain components that are extracted from krill. The respondents also agreed to pay Neptune an additional royalty for the manufacture and sale of krill products that precedes the date of the license.

Neptune also said it agreed to dismiss a related patent infringement case in Delaware federal court that was filed against Avoca, Inc., Olympic Seafood AS and Rimfrost.  

To date, Neptune and Acasti have yet to reach an agreement with the remaining respondents in the ITC probe.

The case pits Neptune against it competitors Aker BioMarine AS, Enzymotec USA, Inc. and related companies.

David Shaw, an administrative law judge with the ITC, a quasi-judicial federal agency, plans to conduct a trial Dec. 10-13.  

Neptune is hoping the ITC will find in its favor, banning U.S. imports of Aker BioMarine and Enzymotec krill products.

Todd Norton, VP of business development with Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, said Neptune's claims of patent infringement lack merit and the company will continue to defend itself.

Separately today, Aker BioMarine announced filing a petition with the ITC for a review of a specific patent assigned to Neptune. Scientific references in the petition establish Neptune never should have been granted the patent claims, Aker BioMarine alleges.

In the process of defending ourselves in the ongoing ITC case Neptune has brought against us, we have discovered significant prior art not previously disclosed [by Neptune] that we believe the Patent Trials and Appeal Board will identify as detrimental to the claims of the 351 Patent, Aker BioMarine CEO Hallvard Muri said in a statement. "This gives us even more confidence that we will prevail in our cases against Neptune and have the '351 Patent invalidated.

Enzymotec did not immediately respond today to a request for comment on the ITC investigation.

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