COLUMBIA, Md., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) announced today that the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has ruled in favor of Martek and upheld one of the Company's European docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) patents. The modified claims of the patent are narrower than the claims originally granted but broader than the claims that were previously upheld in a December 2000 Opposition Division hearing. The patent, which expires in November 2010, relates to fermentation processes, human and animal food products, pharmaceutical uses of certain claimed microorganisms, and Martek's food DHA production strain.
Fermentation process claims in the patent that provide important commercial protection for Martek were upheld by the EPO, while certain product claims were narrowed by the elimination of coverage for extracted DHA oil. These fermentation process claims are not limited to any particular use of the DHA oil, i.e., they are relevant if the oils from the claimed processes are used in food or nonfood applications, such as human and animal foods, supplements, and pharmaceuticals. The Company believes that, on an overall basis, the patent as modified remains an important part of the Company's intellectual property portfolio and that the narrowing of the claims of the patent should not have any material adverse impact on the Company.
The patent was the subject of a challenge by Aventis Research and
Technologies GmbH & Co. KG, and Nagase Limited. The Company believes that
it is probable that at least one of the opponents of the patent will appeal
the Opposition Division's decision. If an appeal is made, the Appeal Board
hearing would be anticipated to oc
|SOURCE Martek Biosciences Corporation|
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