Following an interim award announced last December, the American Arbitration Association has issued its final ruling in the arbitration between Illinois-based PharmaNutrients and Norwegian company Natural.
The arbitration panel re-affirmed as "valid and enforceable" the existing Supply/License Agreement created between PharmaNutrients and Natural at the dissolution of the joint-venture between the two companies in June 1999. The agreement granted PharmaNutrients access to WARF patents relating to the use of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in dietary supplements.
Mark Nottoli, president of PharmaNutrients, commented: "It is satisfying to have the Arbitration process confirm the Supply/License Agreement which ensures PharmaNutrients continued full access to the WARF-related CLA patents. Natural's attempts to keep PharmaNutrients out of the CLA market have failed."
PharmaNutrients, which makes linoleic acid and chitosan-based products for dietary supplements, said that its own intellectual property relating to CLA, as well as its recent licensing agreements with Purdue University on the application of CLA and Type-2 diabetes and with Oklahoma State University on the preparation of phytosterol esters from CLA, were unaffected by the ruling.
Nottoli added: "For the last year, the ambiguity related to the arbitration process has certainly been a barrier to the growth of our CLA business both in the US and Western Europe. That uncertainty has ended. PharmaNutrients remains committed to the category, our CLA One brand, and to our most valued asset - our customer. From this point forward, we will be building market share through aggressive pricing and product innovation."