July 19, 2011
-- DNP International Co, Inc., a leading global importer and raw ingredient supplier to the nutritional supplement, food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, announced that on June 22, 2011, Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued a ruling granting in its entirety DNP’s motion for dismissal of all claims brought by Natural Alternatives International, Inc. and Compound Solutions, Inc. The lawsuit arose out of Natural Alternatives’
claims that DNP infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 6,4262,361, 6,172,098, and 5,965,596 and that DNP violated various statutes for false advertisement. Compound Solutions also made claims in the lawsuit against DNP for false advertisement.
The court’s action follows its claim construction order in DNP’s favor issued on May 31, 2011 . All but one of Natural Alternatives’
claim constructions for the three patents were rejected or found unnecessary by the Chief Judge Sleet.
“Many of Natural Alternatives’
proposed constructions sought to avoid prior art and save their patents from invalidation by adding extraneous limitations to otherwise easily understood terms, by ignoring the full scope of the claim language, and by violating other basic principles of claim construction,”
said Steven R. Hansen, Senior Counsel at Lee, Tran & Liang, attorneys for DNP. For example, Natural Alternatives argued that the term “beta-alanine”
as claimed in the patents could not be a component of a dipeptide, such as carnosine, despite contrary statements in the patents themselves.
In addition, during the claim construction hearing held on May 15, 2011, Natural Alternatives conceded that certain prior art would invalidate its patents if DNP’s proposed constructions were adopted. Following the rulings, the court dismissed all claims made by Natural Alternatives and Compound Solutions, while DNP will remain free to pursue its invalidity claims against Natural Alternatives.
In light of the dismissal, DNP has reassured its customers that it will continue to provide Beta Alanine in quality and quantity, based on its selective partnerships with manufacturers in China with a total monthly capacity of over 200MT (metric tons). DNP announced that it is confident that the patents and asserted claims are invalid and would take all steps to vigorously defend itself and the interests of its customers against illegitimate patent claims.
“This decision vindicates our long-held position that DNP has not in any way infringed Natural Alternatives’
patents related to Beta Alanine,” said David Ji, president of DNP International. “DNP has a strong tradition of innovation and respects the intellectual property of others. We are proud of our position as a preeminent provider of raw ingredients to manufacturers worldwide.”