Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (NASDAQ.NEPT - TSX.NTB) announced that on Nov. 9, 2012, it filed a Notice of Opposition in Australia against Aker Biomarine ASA’s patent application no. AU2008291978 entitled “New Method for Making Krill Meal.”
Neptune opposes the acceptance of Aker’s patent by the Australian Patent Office (“APO”) because it has evidence that the invention claimed in the application is neither new nor inventive. Neptune will present clear disclosures in printed publications and patents, published years before Aker`s patent, that teach exactly what Aker claims in its patent application and serve as strong prior art against Aker’s patent.
This follows Neptune’s previous request for re-examination against Aker’s AU2008231570 patent, which lead the APO to invalidate Aker's claims to a krill oil production process for lack of the required novelty and inventive step. This is in line with Neptune’s intellectual property strategy aiming to reinforce its position as the krill oil innovator and a market leader, in order to secure the rapidly growing krill oil market and protect its distributors.
“Anyone who claims to be free to operate in Australia based on a patent license from Aker is at risk, as Neptune firmly believes that Aker’s patents and patent applications will eventually be declared invalid by the APO or the courts, while Neptune’s patents will be enforceable” stated Neptune’s Chief Global Strategic Officer Dr. Tina Sampalis.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has recently issued a final rejection for the corresponding patent application in the US to the one opposed by Neptune in Australia. Interestingly, both the U.S. and European Patent Offices have not yet granted a patent to Aker for a krill oil composition and/or for a method to make krill products.