Kemin wins lutein patent renewal

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United states patent and trademark office, Patent application, Macular degeneration, Kemin

Iowa-based supplier, Kemin Health, has been reissued patents first issued in 1995 that will “solidify its position” as a leading supplier of the eye health ingredient, lutein.

The reissue from the United States Patent Office Board of Patent Appeals contains two additional claims relating to Kemin’s FloraGLO marigold-derived lutein ingredients – one for composition and one for process – authorisations that will assist Kemin to vigorously defend​its intellectual property (IP) and rights.

“It is our corporate philosophy to defend our IP and we are very pleased the patent office has agreed with our proposal,”​ Kemin Health president, Rodney Ausich, told NutraIngredients-USA.com today.

“There are many ways to protect IP and this is one of the most effective.”

Kemin company has been involved in a long-running patent dispute with OmniActive Technologies, which awaits resolution in the courts. It is not certain how the new approvals will affect that case.

The additional claims relate to patent composition and are in reference to:

1. a lutein composition comprising (a) at least about 90% lutein having been extracted and purified from plant extracts which contain 10% or less of non-lutein carotenoids, (b) no traces of toxic chemicals that would render the lutein composition unsuitable for human consumption, and (c) significantly less than about 10% of non-lutein carotenoids obtained by purification of said plant extracts as well as …

2. a method for providing such lutein compositions to humans.

Kemin employs DSM Nutritional Products as its sole FloraGLO sub-licensee distributor in the US, and the approval would give it, an exclusive basis in the US to market purified lutein extracted from marigolds (at the above-recited concentration).”

FloraGLO is also patent-protected in other global markets.

OmniActive case

Kemin filed its suit against OmniActive on July 17, 2007 at the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida for infringing on methods pertaining to the isolation and purification of lutein and lutein compositions.

The 714 patent at issue in the OmniActive suit was licensed exclusively to Kemin through a research collaborator and Catholic University of America in 1995.

A 2007 report from analysts, Frost & Sullivan, predicts the global lutein market will hit $124.5 million in 2013. In 2006 it was valued the market at $105.1 million. Lutein, a nutrient found in various foods including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk, has a ten-year-plus history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD affects the central part of the retina called the macula, which controls fine vision, leaving sufferers with only limited sight. AMD affects over 30 million people worldwide, and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.

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