Novozymes A/S v. DuPont Nutrition Biosciences, APS, No. 12-1433 (Fed. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Novozymes’s 723 patent, entitled “Alpha-Amylase Mutants with Altered Properties,” relates to recombinant enzyme technology. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions; they facilitate molecular processes that would not occur or would occur more slowly in their absence. The 723 patent claims particular modified enzymes with improved function and stability under certain conditions. Novozymes sued DuPont, alleging infringement. DuPont counterclaimed, seeking a declaratory judgment of invalidity for failing to satisfy enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112. The district court granted Novozymes summary judgment on the issue of infringement and denied DuPont summary judgment of invalidity. A jury concluded that the claims were not invalid and awarded infringement damages of more than $18 million, but the district court granted DuPont’s post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law that the claims are invalid for failure to satisfy the written description requirement. The Federal Circuit affirmed. To actually possess the variant enzymes claimed in the patent would require Novozymes to confirm its predictions by actually making and testing individual variants or at least identifying subclasses of variants that could be expected to possess the claimed properties, which it did not do before filing its 2000 application.