Cognis Nutrition & Health, a nutritional ingredients supplier, has responded to claims made earlier this week by Dutch rival Loders Croklaan regarding the infringement of several of its patents.
The allegations concern the Tonalin brand of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is sold in the US by Natural Inc., the North American subsidiary of Norway's Natural group.
Natural created the Tonalin brand, but has been accused by Loders of infringing patents for its Clarinol brand of CLA.
"Tonalin CLA is currently manufactured by Cognis under the terms of a recently implemented licensing agreement between Cognis and Natural," commented the German company in response to the Loders allegations.
"The processes used by Cognis are proprietary developments which have been designed to ensure the integrity and consistent quality of Tonalin CLA. At the same time they clearly do not infringe the Loders Croklaan patents," Cognis added. Natural has not yet commented on the Loders allegations
The licensing agreement between Natural and Cognis for Tonalin CLA only came into effect on Saturday last week (15 February), and allegations of this sort are clearly not the best way for the venture to begin.
But this is not the first time Cognis has become embroiled in lawsuits with rival companies. In 1999 it came head-to-head with Kemin over the marketing of its lutein ester product - Kemin claimed that its purified lutein was a better source of the eye-healthy antioxidant and that Cognis was promoting its product as equally effective. That lawsuit has been resolved, but only in October last year, and Cognis will clearly hope that any legal proceedings stemming from Loders' allegations will be more swiftly completed.