Neptune reaches krill oil patent settlement
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources and its subsidiary Acasti Pharma have reached a settlement related to a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) probe into a breach of their patents.
Neptune and Acasti earlier this year filed a complaint with the ITC against Rimfrost USA, Olympic Seafood AS, Olympic Biotec, Avoca and Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.
As part of the settlement, Neptune granted a “worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license” to the companies that enable them to market and sell krill products within the nutraceutical market.
The companies will also pay Canada-based Neptune an undisclosed royalty payment for the manufacture and sale of krill products before the license becomes active. Neptune will dismiss a related patent infringement case against Rimfrost, Olympic Seafood AS and Avoca, filed in March 2013.
“It is our duty to protect our intellecutual property and build value from our patents as they represent a key factor for our growth and advancement in the industry,” said Benoit Huart, Neptune general counsel.
In addition, Neptune signed a manufacturing and supply agreement with Rimfrost, giving the company the right to buy up to 800 metric tons (MT) of krill oil during the three-year agreement. The company said the deal gives it the ability to produce more than 150 MT annually of its premium krill oil product annually when its Sherbrooke production facility, currently under construction, is complete sometime this fiscal year.
“For the foreseeable future, we have now increased our overall annual krill oil production capacity to a level which allows us to meet increasing customer demand for krill oil," said Henri Harland, Neptune president CEO.
Even with today's settlement announcement, there remains a list of companies with which Neptune and Acasti have an outstanding dispute. The other firms still part of the ITC investigation are Aker BioMarine AS, Aker BioMarine Antarctic USA, Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS, Enzymotec Limited and Enzymotec USA. The ITC will review evidence in a hearing on Dec. 10 and make a decision by next March on the alleged patent violation. A ruling in Neptune's favor could result in a ban on imports of Aker and Enzymotec's krill products into the U.S.