Renaissance Herbs filed petitions at the end of last year on six patents issued to India's Vittal Mallya Scientific Research Foundation (VMSRF) in 1997 and 1998. These were for the production of the calcium and potassium salt of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The revocation petitions have been referred to the Indian Internal Property Appellate Board for due process.
Vittal Mallya began their own legal actions in January 2003 in India against Renaissance Herbs, Sabinsa, Laila Impex, and five other defendants for patent infringement on the same set of patents. Legal proceedings have continued for the past 12 months.
Alex Moffett, president of Renaissance Herbs, says that the Vittal Mallya patents in question are flawed and should not have been issued.
"There is considerable evidence that the art claimed in these patents was known and commercialized well before the patent applications were filed in India and the US," he said.
The battle over the rights to HCA products will heat up as new suppliers continue to move into the booming US market for weight loss ingredients. HCA is extracted from a South Asian fruit called Garcinia cambogia, widely used for centuries in Asia and likely to replace many of the ephedra products.