‘There are more infringing companies out there’, says lawyer in latest beta-alanine patent lawsuits

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nai, Patent infringement

BPI Sports' 1.M.R supplement contains beta-alanine which NAI claims infringes its '381 patent
BPI Sports' 1.M.R supplement contains beta-alanine which NAI claims infringes its '381 patent
The three firms that have now been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Natural Alternatives International (NAI) are not the only ones allegedly infringing NAI’s newly-granted patent regarding sports nutrition ingredient beta-alanine, claims a lawyer acting for NAI.

NAI is represented by Washington, DC-based law firm Patton Boggs LLP.

Patton Boggs partner Kevin Bell was speaking to NutraIngredients-USA after NAI filed two new complaints against supplement firms BPI Sports and Image Sports alleging infringement of its new US patent #8,067,381​.

Patent #8,067,381 – awarded on November 29, 2011 – “generally covers any human dietary supplement containing the amino acid beta-alanine”,​ said Bell.

“There are more infringing companies out there in addition to the ones NAI has already sued for infringement.”

Three months, three patent infringement lawsuits

Florida-based BPI Sports, which is also facing a class action lawsuit filed in California ​over its use of the stimulant DMAA, is accused of infringing the ‘381 patent​ with its 1.M.R pre-workout supplements (pictured).

Image Sports ​(trading as Image Nutrition) stands accused of infringing the patent with its Alarm supplements.

The above complaints - filed in a federal court in Texas on January 20 - follow a patent infringement action brought by NAI last month against Woodbolt Distribution​; Vitaquest International (doing business as Garden State Nutritionals) and F.H.G. Corporation (doing business as Integrity Nutraceuticals) regarding beta-alanine containing products.

Several more firms are infringing patent, claims attorney

The complaint against BPI was filed after BPI failed to comply with a cease and desist demand, claimed NAI: “On or about January 4, 2012, NAI sent a cease and desist letter to BPI. To date, BPI has refused to comply.”

NAI chief executive Mark LeDoux said: “NAI has made a significant corporate investment in its growing patent portfolio related to CarnoSyn beta-alanine and, when necessary, will continue to address infringement of its intellectual property using the federal court system.

“NAI will continue to vigorously develop and grow its patent estate that includes claims covering human dietary supplements containing the increasingly popular amino acid, beta-alanine.”

Currently, said LeDoux, the only licensed distributor of NAI's CarnoSyn beta-alanine product is the distributor Compound Solutions, Inc, but neither defendant had purchased beta-alanine from Compound Solutions.

Said Bell: “Several companies sell supplements in the US that contain beta-alanine not purchased from Compound Solutions that NAI believes infringes the '381 patent.”

Image Sports and BPI Sports were both unavailable for comment as this article went to press.

Beta-alanine. The ‘381 patent

The ‘381 patent, entitled ‘Methods and compositions for increasing the anaerobic working capacity in tissues’, provides “compositions comprising beta-alanine, peptides of beta-alanine, analogues and derivatives thereof, along with methods using these compositions for increasing the anaerobic working capacity of a tissue”.

According to NAI, the ‘381 patent claims are “specifically directed to beta-alanine compositions in several formulations, wherein the beta-alanine is not part of a dipeptide, polypeptide or oligopeptide and is in the form of a dietary supplement”.

It adds: “Esters or amides of beta-alanine, which are not part of a dipeptide, polypeptide or oligopeptide, may also be employed. Additional active agents, such as carbohydrates, L-histidine, insulin and creatine, may also be present.”

Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting precursor of carnosine, which is claimed to decrease fatigue in athletes.

Related topics: Regulation

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