Nutrition 21 brought the patent infringement lawsuit against Nature’s Way in the Southern District of New York in response to Nature’s Way’s use of chromium picolinate in its Alive line of dietary and nutritional supplements.
“We are delighted that we were able to reach an amicable resolution to our dispute with Schwabe,” said Michael Satow, president and CEO of Nutrition 21. “This reaffirms the strength of Nutrition 21’s patent portfolio which covers compositions and uses of a number of products that include chromium picolinate in combination with other ingredients.”
The financial terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but Nutrition 21 revealed that Schwabe has agreed to pay for and license Nutrition 21’s patents, and Schwabe has acknowledged the validity of Nutrition 21’s asserted patents. As a result, certain of Nature’s Way’s and Schwabe’s products may continue to use chromium picolinate.
Defending the IP
Chromium picolinate is one of the most established ingredients in the blood glucose management sector via its effects on insulin. A 2014 review in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (Vol. 39, pp. 292–306) concluded: “The available evidence suggests favorable effects of chromium supplementation on glycemic control in patients with diabetes. Chromium mono-supplement may additionally improve triglycerides and HDL-C levels.
“Chromium supplementation at usual doses does not increase the risk of adverse events compared with placebo.”
Nutrition 21 holds a number of patents for chromium picolinate that originated in research done years ago by the United States Department of Agriculture, and the company has strongly defended that IP. In 2014, Pfizer, which had been including the ingredient in its Centrum line, settled with Nutrition 21 on a patent infringement lawsuit. The financial terms of the settlement were also confidential, but Pfizer agreed to license Nutrition 21’s patents, and acknowledged the validity of Nutrition 21’s asserted patents.