Codexis, a protein engineering company, secured a federal court order awarding it summary judgment on 10 claims of patent infringement brought in a lawsuit against EnzymeWorks, Suzhou, China and its San Diego based affiliate, also called EnzymeWorks
The court’s order establishes EnzymeWorks’ uncontested infringement of 10 of Codexis’ patents and eliminates any need for a trial. The 10 Codexis patents cover dozens of engineered enzymes that have wide industrial applicability.
In the lawsuit, filed in February 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, Codexis sued EnzymeWorks and EnzymeWorks founder Junhua Tao for wilful infringement of 10 biocatalysis patents and also for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, interference with business relationships and unfair competition.
After nearly 18 months of legal process, EnzymeWorks never contested the infringement charges or challenged the validity of Codexis’ patents.
This set the stage for District Judge William H. Orrick awarding Codexis summary judgment of patent infringement.
The court’s order was based on a stipulation in which EnzymeWorks acknowledged it “has not denied or disputed its infringement” of Codexis’ 10 patents, or the validity of those patents. This partial summary judgment order, in favour of Codexis is a key milestone in the lawsuit, but additional disputes remain to be resolved at a jury trial.
The continuing disputes include Tao’s individual liability for the infringement, Codexis’ claims that the infringement was wilful and the amount of damages to be awarded to Codexis.
John Nicols, CEO and President of Codexis, said: “Codexis is pleased to finally have some closure about EnzymeWorks’ blatant infringement of our patents and disrespect for US patent laws. Like our customers and shareholders, Codexis relies on intellectual property rights and we are grateful the legal process vindicated our claims and protects our innovations.”
“We are confident once the court and a San Francisco Bay Area jury hear all of the facts, they will award significant damages to Codexis reflecting the tremendous value EnzymeWorks and Tao illegally obtained by deliberately infringing our patents, stealing our trade secrets and breaching our contracts.”
Nicols noted Codexis spent several hundred million dollars in innovating and developing proprietary biocatalysis technologies during the company’s 15-plus year history.