Oslo, Norway—A discrepancy over patents is continuing in the krill market segment. On October 2, Aker BioMarine asked the U.S. Trademarks and Patents Office (USTPO) to consider some additional evidence regarding the legitimacy of patent (U.S. Pat. No 8,278,351, i.e., the “’351 Patent”) assigned to Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. of Laval, Quebec, Canada.

Aker filed the original request for examination of Neptune’s ‘351 patent in October 2012; as part of the USTPO process, Aker has the right to submit additional paperwork for consideration as part of its original request within a year. Otherwise, it is barred from raising the issue in this manner again.

For this reason, Neptune feels that there isn’t much to this latest development, which the firm called a rehash of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) case. “This is largely a procedurally-driven filing as the rules in the USPTO require that such a filing be made within one year or Aker would have been prevented from challenging in the future,” according to Mike Timperio, senior vice president of global sales at Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. “Again, [it is] a simple procedural step with the patent office that Aker is using…We will not comment further, rather we will let the courts decide who is right.”

But Aker is confident in its latest move. “In the process of defending ourselves in the ongoing ITC case Neptune has brought against us, we have discovered significant prior art not previously disclosed by Neptune that we believe the Patent Trials and Appeal Board will identify as detrimental to the claims of the ‘351 Patent,” said Hallvard Muri, CEO, Aker BioMarine in a press statement. According to Aker, it has won every post-grant challenge of Neptune’s patents.

In other news, Neptune recently made a royalty bearing license and a Manufacturing and Supply Agreement with the Rimfrost and Olympic group. “Now, we are focusing on further developing a strong krill oil market with our new partners,” says Timperio, adding, “Furthermore, we are also focusing on re-establishing ourselves as a premier krill oil manufacturer of Neptune’s flagship product NKO and we are working hard to have our Sherbrooke plant up and running in early 2014.”


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2013 (online 10/7/13, updated 10/11/13)