Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (NASDAQ.NEPT - TSX.NTB) announces that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted to Neptune a new continuation patent, U.S. Patent 8,383,675 (the “‘675 Patent”). This new patent claims the benefit of prior Neptune U.S. Patent Nos. 8,030,348 and 8,278,351. The ‘675 Patent contains a single claim directed to a capsule comprising an Antarctic krill oil extract comprising a phospholipid suitable for human consumption. This claim covers most, if not all, krill oil products presently sold in the U.S. market, as well as the pharmaceutical concentrates of Neptune’s subsidiaries Acasti Pharma and NeuroBioPharm.
Henri Harland, president and CEO of Neptune, commented: “This is not ‘just another patent for Neptune.’ It is part of Neptune’s IP strategy, and it reinforces Neptune’s continual effort to build its patent portfolio and defend its rights. Neptune’s recent filing of a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission, as well as the issuance of this third composition patent in the United States, are part of Neptune’s well thought and ongoing IP action plan.”
“We are well aware that infringers will claim that the ‘675 Patent is invalid. They may file requests for re-examination and use other administrative means available to slow down the process. But, the fact remains: our patents are valid and infringed. Neptune has always been forthright with the USPTO. As in all of our other patent application files, we provided to the USPTO during the prosecution of the ‘675 Patent all relevant documents and record evidence from every re-examination and opposition proceeding filed worldwide. Regardless of what our competitors claim, the USPTO, after thorough examinations, continues to grant patents to Neptune,” added Mr. Harland.
Neptune intends to file an amended complaint in the ITC to add allegations of infringement of the ‘675 Patent against all of the proposed respondents, including Aker BioMarine, Enzymotec and Rimfrost USA. Accordingly, Neptune has requested and been granted by the ITC a postponement of the deadline by which the ITC will decide whether to institute an investigation.
“The addition of the ‘675 Patent to the complaint will further strengthen Neptune’s position before the ITC” said Benoit Huart, General Counsel of Neptune. “All of the proposed respondents will be facing an action for infringement of two patents that read directly on their krill oil products. The amendment of Neptune’s complaint may delay the institution of the investigation before the ITC by a few weeks, but we are adding a new patent granted by the USPTO after a thorough review of all prior art submitted by Aker in re-examination proceedings directed at related Neptune patents. We are confident that Neptune will prevail before the ITC,” he concluded.