COLUMBIA, Md., Aug 04, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) announced today that the Company's patent on DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) oil has been upheld by the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office. This patent covers DHA-rich microbial oils and methods for producing DHA-rich microbial oils. Today's ruling resulted from a challenge to Martek's patent by Aventis S.A. and Nagase & Co. Ltd which has been the subject of prior proceedings before the EPO. Martek has sued Nutrinova and Celanese in Germany for infringement of this patent, and the Opposition Division's favorable decision upholding this patent is an important advance in this case. Martek has also brought an action against Nutrinova in the U.S. for infringement of several Martek DHA oil U.S. patents.
"Today's favorable ruling confirms Martek's strong intellectual property position in Europe for DHA oil and the production of DHA oil and further strengthens our extensive patent portfolio for Martek's DHA and ARA oils that provides us with critical competitive advantages," said Henry "Pete" Linsert, Jr., Martek's Chairman and CEO.
Opposing parties have an opportunity to appeal the decision within two months after the issuance of a written opinion. If appealed, the appeal process is expected to take up to two years.
Martek's DHA oil, branded Martek DHA(TM), is used in infant formulas, as well as functional foods and dietary supplements. In addition to its European patents, Martek holds patents on its infant formula DHA oil, food DHA oil, ARA (arachidonic acid) oil, and ARA/DHA oil blend in the United States and various countries thought the world.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning, among other things, expectations regarding certain patent matters; the patent appeal process and the effect of today's ruling on a pending infringement action brought by Martek. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause future actual results to differ due to a variety of risk factors, including without limitation, the risk that an appeal may ultimately lead to a revocation of this patent, the uncertainties of the appeal process, the risk that the pending case against Nutrinova for infringement may not be successful, as well as those factors set forth in Exhibit 99.1 to the Company's Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2005 and from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Martek Biosciences Corporation develops, manufactures and sells products from microalgae. The Company's products include: (1) specialty, nutritional oils for infant formula that aid in the development of the eyes and central nervous system in newborns; (2) nutritional supplements and food ingredients that may play a beneficial role in promoting mental and cardiovascular health throughout life; and (3) powerful fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.