The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Launches Investigation into Alleged Infringement of the Kaneka '340 Patent for Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to institute an investigation against several entities, including Zhejiang Medicine Co. Ltd., ZMC-USA, LLC, Xiamen Kingdomway Group Company, Pacific Rainbow International, Inc, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc., Maypro Industries, Inc., and Shenzou Biology & Technology Co., Ltd. for their alleged participation in infringing upon the Kaneka '340 patent for oxidized Coenzyme Q10.

Kaneka Nutrients L.P. (KNL) announced today that on July 14, 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to institute an investigation (complaint no. 337-TA-2822) against several entities, including Zhejiang Medicine Co. Ltd., ZMC-USA, LLC, Xiamen Kingdomway Group Company, Pacific Rainbow International, Inc, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc., Maypro Industries, Inc., and Shenzou Biology & Technology Co., Ltd. (collectively “Defendants”). The investigation is based on the complaint of KNL’s parent company, Kaneka Corporation (Kaneka) that the Defendants directly and/or indirectly infringe Kaneka’s U.S. Patent No. 7,910,340 (the “Kaneka Patent”). ITC issued a news release on its web site below (News Release 11-085, dated July 14, 2011), which identifies the Investigation by reference number 337-TA-790.

http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2011/er0714jj3.htm

Kaneka’s ITC complaint, filed on June 17, 2011, alleges that Defendants have engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation and sale of Coenzyme Q10 products that infringe the Kaneka Patent. In addition to its request to commence an investigation into Defendant’s alleged unauthorized use of the Kaneka Patent, Kaneka requests that the ITC issue an Exclusion Order barring the importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported, and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States.

The ITC is a quasi-judicial Federal agency that offers an alternative, fast-tracked forum for foreign and domestic owners of U.S. intellectual property rights to seek to block infringing products from the U.S. market. In particular, 19 USC §1337 authorizes the ITC to address claims of patent infringement by imported goods and unfair competition related to imported products. The ITC operates with unique rules and procedures that typically result in considerably faster determinations and can provide immediate consequences for importers, manufactures and sellers of infringing products.

Kaneka expects the ITC to make its final determination in this matter in about 12 months. Kaneka is also currently investigating the use of these infringing Coenzyme Q10 products in consumer products such as dietary supplements, cosmetics, oral care products, and beverages.
The ITC action follows Kaneka’s filing of a patent infringement suit on March 22, 2011 against Defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for infringement of the Kaneka Patent. In the District Court action, Kaneka is seeking an injunction prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and use of infringing products in the U.S., as well as monetary damages.
Oxidized coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) is also known by its trade name Kaneka Q10™. Kaneka has been the recognized industry leader in coenzyme Q10 for the past 30 years, and is the largest manufacturer of coenzyme Q10 in the world.

The latest ITC action continues Kaneka’s worldwide enforcement policy for the protection of its intellectual property rights. “Kaneka has been the leading developer of many innovative and cutting edge improvements in the production and quality of coenzyme Q10,” said Mr. Yoshimi Uchida, General Manager of QOL Division at Kaneka. He added: “Kaneka will vigorously defend these rights and will not hesitate to initiate court proceedings to protect its intellectual property.” Mr. Uchida emphasized that “Kaneka’s goal is to protect the results of its research and development and to avoid the unauthorized use of its innovations.”

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Dr. Dariush Adli
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