Court papers dated August 25 from the United States District Court for the Southern District Court of Texas Houston Division state that Kaneka voluntarily dismissed all causes of action in the complaint without prejudice.
The news of the dismissal was welcomed by ZMC-USA’s president, Scott Steinford: “We are pleased that Kaneka dismissed its lawsuit.
“We look forward to a prompt resolution of this dispute in the remaining lawsuit which was originally initiated by ZMC / ZMC-USA in Houston.”
Two cases are still ongoing: An ITC action filed by Kaneka against seven CoQ10 suppliers , and one by ZMC-USA against Kaneka in Texas.
The dispute has centered on patent #7,910,340, issued March 22, 2011 and entitled, "Process for Producing Coenzyme Q10": The patent describes the production of ubiquinol (CoQ10) from ubiquinone (QH – the reduced form of CoQ10).
Kaneka filed an initial complaint in Los Angeles, and this was subsequently transferred to Texas (and this is the case that Kaneka has now voluntarily dismissed).
This was followed by a complaint being filed in the same Southern District of Texas by ZMC seeking “a declaration from the Court that the claims of Kaneka’s most recent patent are not infringed by ZMC and are invalid, unenforceable, void and of no legal consequence”.
Following the filing of the ITC action, letters were sent on behalf of Kaneka to several companies discussing the alleged patent infringement.
On August 22, 2011, US District Court Judge Lynn Hughes ordered Kaneka to withdraw the letters it sent suggesting that ZMC was infringing its patent.
This was followed by the August 25 dismissal by Kaneka.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-USA, Dr Dariush Adli from the Adli Law Group, attorneys for Kaneka, said that the dismissal in Houston does not mean that Kaneka has dismissed its case against ZMC.
The ITC voted in July to investigate certain coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) products and production methods following a complaint by Kaneka.
Band of seven
The ITC complaint names seven CoQ10 suppliers, including Zhejiang Medicine Co. Ltd., ZMC-USA, LLC, Xiamen Kingdomway Group Company, Pacific Rainbow International, Inc, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc., Maypro Industries, Inc., and Shenzou Biology & Technology Co., Ltd.
According to the terms of the complaint, the seven other suppliers allegedly infringed “directly and/or indirectly” the ‘340 patent. The Japanese company asked ITC to initiate an investigation into the “unauthorized use of the Kaneka Patent”.
CoQ10 – or coenzyme Q10 plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria – the 'power plants' of the cell – by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'.
It has been studied for its role in cognitive health, heart health, and anti-aging (in oral and topical formulations). It has also been shown to benefit those suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension.
Its use in the US, particularly in supplements, has been boosted by the rise in popularity of statin drugs which deplete the body's natural stores of CoQ10.