Ingredient supplier ZMC-USA has filed a complaint against fellow CoQ10 supplier Kaneka Corporation over the Japanese company’s recent US patent for a CoQ10 production process.
Patent #7,910,340, issued March 22, 2011 and entitled "Process for Producing Coenzyme Q10" describes the production of ubiquinol (CoQ10) from ubiquinone (QH – the reduced form of CoQ10).
“ZMC will demonstrate that this patent offers no improvement over existing technology and is not economically feasible on a commercial scale, rendering the patent invalid and unenforceable,” said ZMC in a statement.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, ZMC is seeking “a declaration from the Court that the claims of Kaneka’s most recent patent are not infringed by ZMC and are invalid, unenforceable, void and of no legal consequence.
“It is important to note that ZMC and ZMC-USA are the only litigants in the Kaneka patent suit to have filed a declaratory judgment complaint against Kaneka prior to its filing but after the '340 patent was issued,” added the company. “ZMC's complaint requires Kaneka to defend the validity and enforceability of its patent.”
In response, a spokesperson for Kaneka told NutraIngredients-USA: "Kaneka cannot comment at this time on the patent infringement case with ZMC due to the ongoing litigation".
The patent is available to read here .
CoQ10 – or coenzyme Q10 plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria – the 'power plants' of the cell – by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'.
It has been studied for its role in cognitive health, heart health, and anti-aging (in oral and topical formulations). It has also been shown to benefit those suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension.
Its use in the US, particularly in supplements, has been boosted by the rise in popularity of statin drugs which deplete the body's natural stores of CoQ10.