The Commercial Issue

In 2009, J A Kemp was approached by a small but growing company, Equateq Ltd, that produced pharmaceutical grade lipids. In scaling up their production facility Equateq developed a particular separation technique for purifying polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). A first patent application covering their separation technique was drafted and filed by J A Kemp towards the end of 2009.

In mid-2011, Equateq became aware that a competitor had purchased a production facility which could be used to purify PUFAs using Equateq’s separation technique. However, the particular features of the production facility suggested that there might be an attempt to operate it in a way which would avoid Equateq’s existing patent applications.

How We Helped

In under three weeks, we prepared and filed five new patent applications covering further proprietary features of Equateq’s separation technique. The intention was to secure all available IP, to protect the position of Equateq at the forefront of PUFA separation technology. A variety of approaches were taken in the five patent applications in order to protect the concepts underlying Equateq’s technique from different angles.

We continued to work closely with Equateq to develop their patent portfolio and advise them regarding third party rights and freedom to operate. By early 2012, Equateq were in negotiations with a number of third parties looking to make significant investments in the company. We handled all IP-related queries arising from the due diligence carried out by the third parties’ legal advisers. 

The Outcome

We enabled our client to protect their position as a pioneer in the lipid field when faced with a potential challenge from a much larger company. Equateq was procured in mid-2012 for an eight figure sum by one of the largest chemical companies in the world, securing over a hundred jobs in the Western Isles of Scotland. Equateq’s patent portfolio was key to protecting and evidencing their position as a global leader in omega-3 fatty acid production.

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