December 12, 2016
Nutritional Outlook

LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN TRADE ORGANIZATION BORN OUT OF KEMIN, OMNIACTIVE LEGAL BATTLE

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Trade Organization Born Out of Kemin, OmniActive Legal Battle

Carotenoid suppliers Kemin Industries (New York City) and OmniActive Health Technologies (Morristown, NJ) announced today that the firms have not only resolved their recent patent battle, but that the two firms are partnering up to share select patents and form a brand-new lutein and zeaxanthin trade organization.

On October 6, Kemin announced it had filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting that the ITC investigate OmniActive’s importation of ingredients Kemin claimed infringed on Kemin’s existing patents for its trademarked FloraGLO lutein ingredient. According to Kemin, OmniActive’s marketing campaigns for OmniActive’s lutein and zeaxanthin products, such as its Lutemax 2020 ingredient, made claims about the benefits of such ingredients for blue light damage to macular health that infringed on claims Kemin had already patented for its FloraGLO lutein ingredient. According to Kemin, “FloraGLO is the only lutein brand supported by a patent that shows how ocular antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, filter blue light to help protect [an] individual’s eyes.”

In response, OmniActive announced in October that it had filed an earlier lawsuit against Kemin in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, requesting a declaratory judgment that OmniActive had not infringed Kemin’s patent. The lawsuit was filed prior to the ITC complaint, and OmniActive said it filed the lawsuit after Kemin “threatened OmniActive with certain patents with regard to OmniActive’s [trademarked] ‘What’s Your Blue (Blue Light User Exposure)’ marketing campaign.”

According to a joint press release from both firms today, they have “resolved their legal differences.” According to the press release, Kemin and OmniActive will “cross-license each other’s ‘use patents.’” In addition, they said they will work together to form a “Lutein and Zeaxanthin Trade Organization,” which will be open to all industry members and whose mission will be to expand worldwide research and education around the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin. More details, the firms said, will be announced in the future.

“With this agreement, Kemin and OmniActive agree to cross-license our current and future ‘use patents’ on lutein, zeaxanthin, and their isomers, worldwide and royalty free,” said Sanjaya Mariwala, Managing Director & CEO of OmniActive Health Technologies, in the joint press release. “This agreement removes patent road blocks, unleashes Kemin’s and OmniActive’s innovation for our customers worldwide, and helps elevate the global usage of carotenoids.”

“Litigation brought us together to find common ground,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin Industries Inc., in the press release. “We see great value in eliminating lutein and zeaxanthin deficiencies in the human population to optimize human health through nutritional guidance. To do this, Kemin and OmniActive jointly commit to advancing the science supporting the human health benefits of carotenoids.”

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