Schiff Nutrition International, Inc., (NYSE:WNI), announced that Schiff, Aker BioMarine Antarctic USA, Inc. and Aker BioMarine ASA (collectively, Aker) have filed a motion to stay the lawsuit for patent infringement filed in Delaware by Neptune Technologies & Bioressources (Neptune). The lawsuit alleges Schiff MegaRed® infringes U.S. Patent No. 8,030,348, which was issued to Neptune in October 2011. Schiff believes Neptune’s claims lack merit and the patent Neptune asserts is invalid. To date, the Delaware Court has not made any rulings regarding Neptune’s claims against Schiff and Aker, and the mere fact that Neptune has filed claims against Schiff and Aker does not in any way affect Schiff’s ability to continue to sell and promote its top-quality krill oil.
The motion to stay filing follows the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) grant of Aker’s request for re-examination of the ‘348 patent. Aker’s request for re-examination cited multiple prior art references that were not included in Neptune’s patent application. In granting Aker’s re-examination request, the USPTO has issued an initial rejection of all 21 claims of the ‘348 patent. Based on publicly available statistics released by the USPTO, from November 1999 to September 2011, re-examination requests average three years to decide and, of the re-examination certificates issued, claims were canceled or changed in 89% of the cases.
Schiff and Aker entered into a supply agreement in July 2011 pursuant to which Aker agreed to supply Schiff with its Marine Stewardship Council certified krill oil. Aker has agreed to indemnify Schiff under the supply agreement for losses arising out of the patent litigation. Schiff and Aker have agreed to collaborate on future innovations under the supply agreement.
Schiff MegaRed® is the world’s leading krill oil brand.
About Schiff Nutrition
Schiff Nutrition International, Inc. is a leading nutritional supplement company offering vitamins, nutritional supplements and nutrition bars in the United States and throughout the world. Schiff’s portfolio of well-known brands includes Schiff Move Free®, Schiff® Vitamins, Schiff MegaRed®, Schiff Mega-D3®, Tiger's Milk®, Schiff Sustenex®, and Schiff Digestive Advantage®. Focused on quality for 75 years, Schiff’s headquarters and award-winning manufacturing and distribution facility are based in Salt Lake City, Utah. To learn more about Schiff, please visit the web site www.schiffnutrition.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions, current expectations, estimates, and projections. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the company’s ability to control or predict, and therefore, actual results may differ materially. For example, statements concerning the potential outcome of litigation or administrative proceedings are forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and, as such, speak only as of the date hereof. Schiff Nutrition disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
Important factors that may cause actual results of Schiff Nutrition to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: our inability accurately to predict the outcome of litigation or administrative proceedings, including patent reexaminations, especially where such proceedings are in an early stage; the cost, duration and uncertainty of any litigation or administrative proceeding; dependence on sales of Schiff Move Free product and the joint care category, dependence on sales of Schiff MegaRed product, dependence on individual customers, adverse publicity or consumer perception regarding our nutritional supplements and/or their ingredients, similar products distributed by other companies or the nutritional supplement industry generally, the impact of competitive products and pricing pressure (including expansion of private label products), the inability to successfully bid on new and existing private label business, the impact of raw material pricing, availability and quality (particularly relating to joint care products and ingredients from third-party suppliers outside the United States, including China), claims that our products infringe the intellectual property rights of others, the inability to enforce or protect our intellectual property rights and proprietary techniques against infringement, the inability to successfully launch and maintain sales (especially in the joint care and omega-3 categories) outside of the United States while maintaining the integrity of the products sold and complying with local regulations, the inability to appropriately respond to changing consumer preferences and demand for new products, the inability to gain or maintain market distribution for new products or product enhancements, including products in the probiotic space, litigation and government or administrative regulatory action in the United States and internationally, including FDA enforcement and product liability claims, the inability or increased cost to obtain sufficient levels of product liability and general insurance, the inability to comply with existing or new regulations, both in the United States and abroad, and adverse actions regarding product formulation, claims or advertising, product recalls or a significant amount of product returns, dependence on a single manufacturing facility and potential disruptions of our manufacturing operations, the inability to find strategic transaction opportunities or the inability to successfully consummate or integrate a strategic transaction (including the inability to successfully integrate the assets recently acquired from Ganeden), the inability to maintain or attract key personnel, interruptions to our information technology systems, control by our principal stockholders, and other factors indicated from time to time in the company’s SEC reports, copies of which are available upon request from the company’s investor relations department or may be obtained at the SEC's web site (www.sec.gov). These risks and uncertainties should be carefully considered before making an investment decision with respect to shares of our common stock.