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Neptune Provides Update On European Patent Dispute And Maintains Its International Patent Strategy

LAVAL, Quebec, April 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. ("Neptune" or the "Corporation") (Nasdaq:NEPT) (TSX:NTB) announces that it is moving forward with its international patent strategy and is not affected in any way by the recent action by the European Patent Office's Technical Appeal Board (the "Board") to dismiss Neptune's appeal related to one of its European patents, specifically EP 1417211. The Board was solely concerned with the issue of flavonoids in krill extracts. Importantly the Board did not address phospholipid compositions, which form a large part of Neptune's extensive international patent portfolio.

This European patent relates to an extract containing specific flavonoids. Europe is the only jurisdiction where Neptune's patent portfolio includes flavonoids in the independent claims. In fact, this European patent was one of the first patents obtained by Neptune and it reflected an initial market study indicating that flavonoids could eventually be commercially important and sought after by consumers. Neptune's later market analysis showed that omega-3 phospholipids are more important for consumers. As such, all of Neptune's subsequent composition patent applications were drafted accordingly, taking into account the importance of phospholipids.

Therefore, the decision by the Board will not impact in any way the ongoing disputes in the U.S. and elsewhere, including Neptune's recent filing with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). 

Benoit Huart, General Counsel of Neptune, stated that "the status of this patent has practically no impact on our business: it concerns flavonoids, not phospholipids. Whenever we have pursued patent protection covering phospholipids, such as in the U.S., Australia, and Canada, we did not base it on flavonoids and we have succeeded with the issuance and allowance of patents in those jurisdictions. This opposition has also given us an opportunity to gather strategic information, which will be useful as we continue to execute our international patent strategy." 

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