Nutratech settles with Syntech over patents

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Citrus aurantium, Patent, Patent application, Bitter orange

Another patent infringement case has been settled between two
nutraceutical ingredient companies - this time involving Nutratech
and Syntech International over the use of citrus aurantium

Nutratech distributes branded Advantra Z citris aurantium​ worldwide. The proprietary ingredient holds US patents for uses such as stimulating thermogenesis, weight loss, increasing lean muscle mass, improving athletic performance and suppressing appetite. Legal cases surrounding ingredient patents are frequently battled out in courts and put a significant investment in research and development hanging in the balance. Winning a patent case also hammers home the message to companies looking to patent their ingredients that the outcome creates an effective safeguard. In this case, the two companies settled out of court following extensive litigation and discovery. "We were able to convince Syntech that we had a very good likelihood of success,"​ Bob Green, president of Nutratech, told NutraIngredients-USA. Under the terms of the settlement, according to Nutratech, Syntech has agreed to a permanent injunction and is set to cease import and sale of citrus aurantium​ extract now and in the future as well as to pay Nutratech damages based on past infringement. Green would not disclose the sum of the damages being paid and NutraIngredients-USA was not able to reach Syntech for this article. "Although this has been a long battle, the effort was worth it to demonstrate the value of these patents and to protect the marketing advantage of our customers, whose products contain the well-researched and safe Advantra Z branded ingredient,"​ said Bob Green, president of Nutratech. According to a release from Nutratech, Syntech has acknowledged the validity and infringement of US patents licensed exclusively to Nutratech on the use of the extract stimulating thermogenesis, reducing weight, and suppressing appetite. Syntech had in the past claimed the citrus aurantium​ it sold was not especially made or adapted to any particular use that would lead it to infringing patents. "We have made a significant investment in both research and product development to ensure that our customers can reap all the benefits of a patented, scientifically supported ingredient,"​ said Green. Nutratech is the exclusive global distributor of Advantra Z for weight loss and sports nutrition. The patents are issued to Zhishin for specific applications, the numbers of which are: US patents 6,224,873; 6,316,499; 6,340,481 and 6,340,482. In addition, there are further US and international patents pending on Advantra Z. Nutratech claims that, unlike generic versions of citrus aurantium​, Advantra Z contains all five adrenergic amines that occur naturally in bitter orange and which are responsible for thermogenic activity. The company also accuses generic citrus aurantium​ of tending to isolate synephrine as a single constituent and of including m-synephrine, which has the potential to raise blood pressure. The case has been going on for over a year. In November 2006, California-based Syntech argued that Nutratech had no evidence consumers were using weight loss products containing Syntech's citrus aurantium​ extract.

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