Japanese Pharma Corp. Sues Over Enzyme Patents

Kaneka Corporation, based in Japan, filed suit in the District of Delaware Tuesday, alleging that American River Nutrition LLC (ARN) and Designs for Health, Inc. (DFH) infringed upon its patents involving the production of stabilized forms of the enzyme CoQ10, which Kaneka said it sells as a nutritional supplement.

The complaint recounted the importance of the enzyme, stabilized as Ubiquinol, and explained that Kaneka “is the only company that has the legal right to produce and sell Ubiquinol in the United State” due to its development of the initial technology allowing its use as a supplement. Kaneka named two patents – 7,145,044 and 7,829,080 – as protecting its right to the process of reducing and stabilizing the enzyme, respectively.

The plaintiff identified two products, DuoQuinol and CoQnol, sold by DFH that purportedly infringe on its patents. Kaneka explained that it believes that the products were developed by Dr. Barrie Tan, the founder of ARN, who then provided the necessary information for the manufacture of the products to DFH. Kaneka cited employee biographies of DFH’s manufacturing unit, found on LinkedIn, as evidence that they do not have the capability on their own to develop DuoQuinol and CoQnol. Kaneka also revealed that, during business discussions between it and ARN, Dr. Tan revealed that he had followed the company “closely.” Kaneka alleged that this means ARN must have known of its exclusivity and its patents.

The complaint alleged that DRH directly infringed both of its patents and ARN induced the infringement of both. The plaintiff is represented by Bayard.