Martek settles second omega-3 patent dispute in a week

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Capsugel France has agreed to purchase all its algal DHA omega-3 exclusively from Martek Bioscience Corporation in the second patent dispute Martek has settled in a week.

DHA Omega-3 specialist Martek vigorously defends its patents and only a few days ago the company scored a victory in the US courts against Swiss supplier Lonza.

Now Martek has concluded another case but this time on European soil. The latest settlement is with Capsugel France and follows a patent infringement case filed in November 2008 at the High Court of Strasbourg.

Terms of agreement

Under the resolution Capsugel France has agreed to buy all its algal DHA exclusively from Martek for the life of the patent in question.

The two companies have also agreed to develop a product that will contain Martek’s algal DHA in Capsugel’s proprietary Licaps, which are liquid-filled hard capsules.

Martek said the settlement does not include its action against Lonza, which the company said is ongoing. But in the US, Martek has settled a patent infringement case against Lonza that was filled originally in 2006.

Hailed as “a great win” by Martek the US case was resolved by a panel of judges from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit who ruled in favour of the company on all the four counts of infringement brought before the court.

Lonza is now forbidden from selling any product that infringes Martek’s DHA omega-3 patents in the US, which include claims covering food and dietary supplement applications for human consumption.

Patent strategy

Commenting on the case, Martek CEO Steve Dubin, CEO said: “Martek’s policy is to vigorously defend its patent portfolio and these rulings demonstrate the value of this approach.

“Martek’s strategy continues to be to develop multiple layers of patent protection.”

Last month, Martek announced revenues for the third quarter of $77.8m, down 12 percent from the comparative 2008 period. It cited de-stocking of inventory by some of its infant formula customers as the reason for the fall in sales.

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