Aker not phased by krill patent

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Patent

Aker BioMarine, the Norwegian krill supplier, has said a new krill
patent granted to competitor Neptune will have no effect on its own
recently launched ingredient.

Neptune Technologies & Bioresources was last month granted a composition and matter patent for its omega-3 and antioxidants-boosted krill-based ingredients by the European Patent Office. Although Aker and another Israel-based supplier Enzymotec opposed the patent, Aker's executive vice president Jostein Dalland said it would not in any case affect its own supply of the ingredient. "We believe this patent contained insufficient documentation and is hence invalid. So it will absolutely not be affecting our business,"​ he told NutraIngredinets.com. He said Neptune's patent did not prevent competition from going to market as it related to specific compounds only. As such, Aker will be moving ahead with the launch of its own krill ingredient - Superba - as planned. New krill ​ Superba was debuted in the US in March where it is targeting the supplements market. Aker has now confirmed its home market of Norway as the European launch pad for its Antarctic-sourced ingredient. Dalland said Superba will be formally launched at VitaFoods in Geneva in early May and has already attracted the interest of supplements makers in several European countries. Krill are tiny shrimp gaining attention as a rich source of omega-3, as well as other nutrients. There are about 85 species of the deepwater marine planktonic crustacean, or deepwater shrimp, which the planet's most abundant animal biomass and which when captured and converted to oil, pack 48 times the antioxidant punch of standard fish oils, according to ORAC antioxidant scales. European patents ​ The new patent granted to Neptune - 'Natural Marine Source Phospholipids comprising flavonoïds, polyunsaturated fatty acids and their applications' - protects Neptune marine phospholipid and flavonoid compositions "as a medicament for the prevention and treatment of multiple chronic health conditions, including coronary artery disease caused by hypercholesterolemia, peripheral vascular disease, neurodegenerative and other cognitive disorders." ​ Neptune has not indicated when, and/or whether it will enforce the patent. Under European patent law, companies have nine months to oppose a granted patent. It may then take 5-7 years for the patent opposition to be heard at which point the patent will stand, be amended or revoked. In the mean time the patent stands with an onus on the patent holder to enforce it if they feel a transgression has taken place. Bio Aker said it has a series of pending European patents for the harvesting, processing and composition of its krill ingredients, which it has been developing since 2003. Enzymotec was not available for comment.

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