Infringement Judgment Issues in Fuel-Ethanol Patent Dispute

Danish company Novozymes A/S scored a big victory recently in protecting its commercial enzymes used in the fuel-ethanol industry. Coming on the heels of an expedited bench trial, District Judge Kent A. Jordan issued a 64-page opinion finding that a competing product, manufactured by Genencor International, infringed a Novozymes patent granted in 2005. At issue were the parties’ alpha-amylase enzymes – proteins that break down starches for use in ethanol fuel – and the effect deletions to their amino-acid sequences had on patentability and validity.

The Court concluded that Genencor’s manipulation of the sequence mirrored Novozymes’s similar efforts. A must read for those in or contemplating litigation in the areas of peptide sequencing and protein engineering. Stay tuned for the damages trial, which will occur this fall.

Novozymes A/S v. Genencor Int’l Inc., C.A. No. 05-160 (D. Del. Aug. 24, 2006) (Jordan, J.)

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