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"Biotech Co. Wins $14.5M Verdict Over Modified Yeast Patent" (Law360)

May 15, 2018

A Wisconsin federal jury on Monday awarded a $14.5 million verdict to a Netherlands-based biotechnology firm over allegations that two yeast producers infringed its patent covering genetically modified yeast cells that boost ethanol production.

The jury found that Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Lallemand Specialties Inc. and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Mascoma LLC had created and sold strains of yeast that infringed DSM IP Assets BV’s patent, while rejecting arguments by the yeast producers that the patent was invalid for obviousness.

The patent at issue relates to genetically engineered yeast used in ethanol production, according to filings. The yeast was designed to reduce the production of glycerol during the fermentation process, thereby increasing the amount of ethanol produced from crops and lowering the costs of manufacturing, DSM said.

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