The Roquette/Solazyme matter; a joint venture gone bad
An arbitration ruling details how Roquette seemingly attempted one of the most brazen intellectual property heists in the history of biotechnology, and almost got away with it.
and discusses how a joint venture between Roquette and Solazyme went bad. The arbitration ruling went poorly for Roquette, but, on the facts of this case, would it have mattered anyway?
On October 17, 2012, the joint venture [SRN] filed a US provisional patent application 61/715,031. A "bad act" happened on October 25, 2012 when Roquette filed a European patent application (EP 2724625; cross-reference WO2014064231A1) without naming the Solazyme people as inventors or applicants. [Note that the "international search report" for the international application was unfavorable.]
According to the arbitration document, the disclosure of the provisional was the same as the EP case.
This might seem to be a sneaky action by a joint venturer.
But does not the provisional application, dated before October 25, 2012, stand as prior art to the later EP case AND secure priority to its applicants of the provisional?
The first published claim of the EP case, filed by Roquette:
Microalgal flour granules, characterized in that they have at least of the following characteristics:
The first published claim of published US 20140106051 to Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals, LLC priority claimed to 61715031 is:
Microalgal flour granules, characterized in that they have at least one of the following characteristics: a particle size distribution, of from 2 to 400 .mu.m, flow grades, determined according to a test A, 0.5 to 60% by weight for the oversize at 2000 .mu.m, 0.5 to 60% by weight for the oversize at 1400 .mu.m, 0.5 to 95% by weight for the oversize at 800 .mu.m, a degree of wettability, expressed according to a test B, by the height of the product settled in a 600 mL, 125 mm tall beaker, at a value of 0.2 to 4.0 cm.
[Curiously, US 20140106051 does NOT have a "summary of invention" section.]
Cross-reference to US case: WO/2014/062882 / PCT/US2013/065369. Note that the "international search report" was UNFAVORABLE!
**One notes that the EP case would NOT have priority over a case claiming priority to the earlier US provisional, so Roquette would not have succeeded in its "theft." Further, the "international search reports" for each case were unfavorable, so one might question whether issued patents were forthcoming.
**Of separate interest is that the "international search reports" for the two cases are actually different!!!!
Link to BiofuelsDigest "Great Robbery" post: http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2015/02/27/the-great-algae-robbery/
link to arbitration document: http://www.ascension-publishing.com/Solazyme-Roquette-022615-Exhibit%20A.pdf