Novozymes comes out on top in patent lawsuit against Danisco

By Holly Jessen | November 07, 2011

Following a jury ruling that Danisco infringed on a Novozymes patent, Novozymes filed a motion Nov. 4, asking for a permanent injunction against Danisco.

A jury ruled Oct. 27 that Danisco willfully infringed on a Novozymes patent for certain alpha-amylase enzymes used in the ethanol and starch industries. Danisco was ordered to pay damages of $18.2 million. The lawsuit was filed against Dansico in May 2010, the same month Novozymes’ U.S. patent 7,713,723 was issued.

DuPont, which acquired Danisco in the spring, said Nov. 7 in an email to EPM that it planned to appeal. "We strongly disagree with the infringement ruling as well as the award of damages,” said Dan Turner, spokesperson. “We are confident in our position that Novozymes’ patent is invalid and that Danisco has not willfully infringed. We plan to vigorously pursue an appeal of this issue to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.”

The jury found for Novozymes in six claims, including the claim that Danisco’s “clarified” products infringed on its patent, according to court documents. However, one claim was ruled in favor of Danisco—that that company’s “whole broth” products do not infringe on the Novozymes patent.

Novozymes was awarded $8.1 million for loss of sales of its Liquozyme products and $8.5 million for loss of sales of its glucoamylase products. In addition, Novozymes was awarded a “reasonable royalty” of $1.5 million for infringing sales for which Novozymes did “not prove its entitlement to lost profits.”

On Nov. 4, Novozymes submitted a 32-point statement of facts to support its motion for a permanent injunction against Danisco. Novozymes said that it and Danisco are direct competitors in “what is effectively a two-supplier market” for alpha-amylases used to produce ethanol. Novozymes began selling its alpha-amylase for ethanol production, Liquozyme, in 1999 and quickly gained 80 percent of the market, Novozymes said. Danisco began selling clarified GC358 alpha-amylase products in 2008, after which Novozymes’ share of the ethanol market dropped to about 60 percent. At least 3 percent of that shift in market share occurred after Novozymes’ patent was issued in May 2010, the company said.