LAVAL, Quebec, Sept. 6, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. ("Neptune" or the "Corporation") (Nasdaq:NEPT) (TSX:NTB) announced that on September 4, 2012, Neptune's competitor, Aker Biomarine ASA ("Aker"), issued a press release in an attempt to confuse the krill oil market following the Australian patent authorities' decision to uphold a few claims of its Australian patent numbered AU2008231570. This decision resulted from the filing, on May 22, 2012, of Neptune's request for the re-examination of Aker's Australian patent.
On August 3, 2012, the Australian Patent Office issued a Re-Examination Report wherein it confirmed Neptune's position that Aker's claims to a krill oil production process lacked the requisite novelty and inventive step and therefore were invalid. Aker's AU2008231570 patent is now limited to narrow composition claims that contain specific percentages and amounts of both ether phospholipids and astaxanthin. In the AU2008231570 patent, krill oil with these specific percentages and amounts of ether phospholipids and astaxanthin are purportedly obtained through solvent and supercritical extractions, extraction processes that are much more expensive than the solvent extraction method used by Neptune.
"This is old news as the decision in the Re-Examination Report came out more than a month ago," stated Henri Harland, President and CEO of Neptune. "It is another failed attempt by Aker to mislead the markets and Neptune's Australian business partners into believing that they have solid intellectual property, when in fact they do not. The invention described in Aker's Australian patent, as far as we know, does not cover any krill oil products currently sold on the market and/or clinically tested, whether in Australia or anywhere else in the world. Unlike Neptune's NKO®, the scientific community has yet to identify clear substantial benefits that ether phospholipids in the concentrations covered by Aker's Australian patent may have for humans."