Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (Nasdaq:NEPT) (TSX:NTB) and Acasti Pharma Inc. (Nasdaq:ACST) (TSX-V:APO), a Neptune subsidiary, announce that a final and binding patent infringement settlement and license agreement has been signed with Enzymotec Ltd. and Enzymotec USA Inc. (collectively, Enzymotec) that resolves the International Trade Commission's investigation of infringement of Neptune's composition of matter patents, related federal court actions initiated by Neptune against Enzymotec and its distributors, and various patent review proceedings requested by Enzymotec.
As part of the settlement, Neptune granted a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-bearing license to Enzymotec, allowing it to market and sell its nutraceutical products under Neptune's '348 family of patents (US Patent No. 8,030,348 and all the continuations). Under the terms of the settlement, royalty levels in the USA are dependent on the outcome of pending inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding certain claims of Neptune's '351 composition of matter patent (US Patent No. 8,278,351). Furthermore, royalty levels in Australia are dependent on a potential request by Enzymotec to the Australian Patent Office for a post-grant review of certain claims of Neptune's allowed composition of matter patent application (AU2002322233).
Enzymotec also agreed to pay Neptune a nonrefundable one-time upfront settlement payment. The financial terms of the license are confidential between the parties.
"This successfully brings to a conclusion all of the outstanding litigation issues before the ITC, with Neptune concluding favorable agreements with all 10 respondents named in the investigation," highlighted Mr. Benoît Huart, director of legal affairs at Neptune. "Consequently, Neptune has now licensed some of its patents to all of the major players in the worldwide krill oil industry. In addition, these settlements preserve strong IP protection for both Neptune and Acasti, allowing them to defend their respective markets."
"This is a significant victory and clear reflection of the strength, value and validity of our intellectual property and a validation of our IP procurement and enforcement strategy," added Dr. Tina Sampalis, chief global strategy officer of Neptune and Acasti. "We will continue to expand our patent portfolio, thereby ensuring that we have long-lasting and comprehensive protection. We look forward to further solidifying the unique nature of our product offerings and our position as the pioneer in marine omega-3 phospholids."