Danisco ordered to pay up in patent infringement case

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Danisco

Enzyme firm Danisco is set to pay out over $8m in damages over a
patent infringement battle between its subsidiary Genencor and
competitor Novozymes.

The ruling from a court in Delaware, USA, comes almost two years after Novozymes was granted a patent for one of its bioethanol enzymes. Novozymes said it had contacted Danisco warning that the patent was due to be issued, and advising the firm to stop manufacturing and selling its Spezyme Ethyl product, an alpha amylase enzyme used in ethanol production. Danisco voluntarily withdrew its product from the market only after a first patent infringement ruling in August last year. The latest ruling, announced on Friday, ordered Danisco to pay damages of $4m, which was subsequently doubled as the court found the case to be one of 'willful infringement'. Novozymes was also awarded a share of its attorney's fees and costs. The court also issued a permanent injunction against Danisco preventing future infringement of Novozymes' patent, and meaning the firm cannot re-launch its Spezyme Ethyl product. However, in August last year Genencor launched a new product – Spezyme Xtra – to replace Spezyme Ethyl. Novozymes' head of legal affairs Kristian Merser told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the firm is "happy with most aspects of the court decision",​ although he added that the firm is not pleased with the size of the damages payment. According to Merser, Novozymes has lost $20m in profits due to the patent infringement. Danisco said it will "assess the legal reasoning of the decisions with regard to the question of liability and damages."​ It had no further comments at the present time as the case is still pending. The parties now have ten days to agree on a form of judgment reflecting this decision. Both Novozymes and Danisco have 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

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