Danisco vs. Novozymes patent infringement case will go to court

By Holly Jessen | February 11, 2011

A U.S. District judge ruled that Danisco A/S didn’t prove that a Novozymes patent is invalid, meaning the case will go to trial in October.

Judge Barbara Crabb of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin denied Danisco’s motion for a summary judgment Feb. 4. “The defendants have not met their burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the ‘723 patent is invalid as a matter of law,” she said. She adds that it’s not without hesitation that she is denying the motion, still doubting if the patent adequately describes Novozymes product.

Novozymes filed the patent-infringement lawsuit against Danisco in May. The case centers around the use of the enzyme alpha-amylase GC358 and GC980, which are used in the ethanol and starch industries. At the same time, Novozymes also filed a preliminary injunction, which was denied Sept. 24. It was denied “in part because I concluded that defendants had raised a substantial question about the adequacy of the written description,” Crabb said in court documents.

The two companies have had legal disputes before. Danisco paid Novozymes $15.3 million to settle a patent dispute in 2007.

DuPont is in the midst of taking over Danisco. The global science-based products and services company announced in January that it would pay $5.8 billion in cash and assume $500 million of Danisco’s net debt. The two companies have cooperated in the past, including a joint venture involving cellulosic ethanol development.