PureCircle has won a legal decision in its patent infringement case with fellow stevia producer SweeGen, which challenged the validity of a patent relating to PureCircle’s Reb M stevia production process.
PureCircle originally filed a patent infringement case against SweeGen and its affiliate in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California in September 2018.
However, PureCircle alleges that Sweegen “attempted to avoid the lawsuit” by challenging the validity of PureCircle’s patent by filing a petition for “inter parties review” before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent in question is US patent number 9,243,273, which relates to PureCircle’s process allowing the production of the Reb M stevia sweetener via bioconversion. PureCircle claims that the Reb M stevia is one of its next-generation sweeteners, and has a taste profile like sugar.
On October 24, 2019, the PTAB issued a decision in PureCircle’s favour. It decided, after considering SweeGen’s assertions, that the challenges to the validity of PureCircle’s patent “were insufficient”.
PureCircle has now stated that it will continue with its patent infringement case against Sweegen at the Federal District Court following the ruling.
A statement from Purecircle said: “As a result of the PTAB decision and SweeGen’s failure to demonstrate the invalidity of PureCircle’s patent, PureCircle has cleared another hurdle in its patent infringement case vs SweeGen.
“PureCircle is pleased with the decision of the PTAB, and looks forward to enforcing its patent rights in its Federal District Court litigation against SweeGen.”
In response to the decision, SweeGen released a statement claiming that: “it is confident that it will prevail not only in the upcoming litigation with PureCircle, but also in the marketplace for sweeteners generally.”
SweeGen claims that it recently published international patent application PCT/US/2017/056457, disclosing its Reb M via Reb D4 process “and expects the claims to grant.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019