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Novozymes wins landmark case for biotech patent in alcohol beverages

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By Jenny Eagle+

16-Feb-2017
Last updated on 16-Feb-2017 at 12:39 GMT2017-02-16T12:39:56Z

Novozymes wins landmark case. Picture: Novozymes.

Novozymes wins landmark case. Picture: Novozymes.

In a rare landmark case on the validity of patents covering biotech innovations, the Supreme People’s Court of China has decided in favor of Novozymes, in a trial against two competitors accused of infringing its enzyme patent.

The patent dispute began in 2011, when Novozymes discovered Shandong Longda Bio-Products Co., (Longda) and Jiangsu Boli Bioproducts Co., (Boli) were producing and selling a proprietary Novozymes glucoamylase enzyme for use in the bioenergy and beverage industries violating one of Novozymes’ Chinese patents.

The verdict is final

The infringement is in relation to a patent covering the glucoamylase T-AMG that Novozymes has used as part of different products in fuel ethanol and beverage alcohol.

In 2012 and 2013, two courts in Tianjin ordered Longda and Boli to stop making and selling the products and pay statutory damages totaling RMB 1.7 million to Novozymes.

However, Longda and Boli appealed, arguing the patent was invalid.

The case since passed through several levels of lower courts, before it reached the Supreme People’s Court of China, which has now ruled the patent is valid.

The Supreme People’s Court’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

Mikkel Viltoft, general counsel Novozymes’ said it was pleased with the Court’s decision and praised the Chinese patent and court system for taking an important step towards protecting biotech innovations.

Intellectual property rights

This landmark verdict will spur growth and investments in China and encourage local inventions, and it shows China is serious in its efforts to protect intellectual property rights,” said Viltoft.

Novozymes has been in China for more than 20 years, working with local companies and universities to develop technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and the use of harsh chemicals.

We believe it is in society’s best interest that intellectual property rights are respected, as this provides the necessary incentive to invest in tomorrow’s innovations.”

Novozymes now expects the original infringement decision from 2011 will be respected.

The company opened its first office in Beijing in 1995 and today has more than 1,000 employees across six sites in China, where the company operates R&D, production, sales, marketing and other support functions.

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