The New Jersey-based company’s vice president of medical and scientific affairs, Vladimir Badmaev, said a patent renewal could either weaken or strengthen the original proposition, and Sabinsa’s patent had been strengthened, affording the company further protection of the IP behind its ingredient, BioPerine.
“The patent is now stronger than ever,” Badmaev told NutraIngredients-USA.com. “There are many copycats out there and we have been in many situations where we have been forced to issue legal action and we will continue do so. The IP behind the ingredient costs a lot of money so you have to be prepared to defend it.”
The Black pepper extract market, also known as piperine, is dominated by BioPerine, which Sabinsa said had seen a 250 per cent growth in two years.
It would not reveal sales figures for the 98 per cent piperine extract.
The US market has the potential to reach about $25m, or 40 tons, it estimates, but the company also holds patents and trades in Canada, the European Union and Japan and has a patent pending in India.
The global market was growing at 20-30 per cent per annum, Badmaev calculated.
The original patent (No. 5,972,382 ) was developed by Sabinsa’s sister company, Sami Labs Limited, and the renewal application was filed in 2004.
Sabinsa last took action in 2007 against a company called DNP International which agreed to cease marketing a piperine extract after Sabinsa threatened to sue it.
The standardized black pepper extract contains 95 percent of piperine, said to bind to so-called Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid (TRPV1) receptors in the brain and other parts of the nervous system. This triggers metabolic processes favoring the flow of nutrients in the body.
The company has three peer-review clinical trials mixing piperine with beta-carotene, CoQ10 and curcumin and three unpublished studies under peer review (selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin c).
It trades in dietary supplements only, but is hoping to move into the functional foods sector.