Appeals court rules in favor of Danisco in battle with Novozymes

By Holly Jessen | March 13, 2014

On March 11, judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a previous ruling in a court battle between Danisco, a company of DuPont, and Novozymes and ordered that the case return to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 

A DuPont spokesperson noted that the ruling was a win for Danisco DuPont. DuPont acquired Genencor International, an ethanol enzyme company, in 2011. “A panel of three judges ruled that the trial court should not have dismissed as premature Danisco’s declaratory judgment lawsuit against Novozymes given the two companies’ extensive history of patent litigation and Patent Office disputes involving alpha amylase enzymes (genetically modified industrial enzymes used for converting corn and other plant material into ethanol),” the statement said.  “In the lawsuit that is now revived, Danisco sought a declaration that (1) its RSL alpha amylase enzymes did not infringe Novozymes’ ‘573 patent; (2) that the Novozymes ‘573 patent was invalid, and (3) that Danisco’s ‘240 patent had priority over Novozymes’ ‘573 patent.”

Novozymes provided Ethanol Producer Magazine with a brief statement as well. “The Supreme Court denied Novozymes’ petition for a writ of certiorari and we now consider the case closed,” it said. The court’s decision does not in any way change or limit Novozymes’ product offerings to customers and the decision does not affect Novozymes’ financial outlook. We will continue to develop the best enzyme technology on the market for our customers and protect and defend our intellectual property rights.”

Court documents said that Novozymes has sued Danisco or the company’s predecessors for patent infringement numerous times since 2001. The judges ruled that the district court erred in dismissing certain counts of Danisco’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and therefore vacated the ruling and remanded it back to the lower court.