PASADENA, Texas & THE WOODLANDS, Texas—Kaneka Nutrients and ZMC-USA—and their respective parent companies in Japan and China—filed separate court filings after the issuance of a U.S. patent to Kaneka covering production of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
On March 22, 2011, the U.S. Patent office issued Patent No. 7,910,340, assigned to Kaneka Corp., titled “Process for producing coenzyme Q10.” According to the patent, the invention relates to a process for producing reduced CoQ10 and oxidized CoQ10, which would allow simpler production of reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) on an industrial scale.
Immediately following issuance of the patent, Kaneka Corp., the Osaka, Japan-based parent of Kaneka Nutrients, filed a patent infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Los Angeles. The lawsuit accuses Zhejiang Medicine Co. Ltd. (ZMC), ZMC-USA LLC, Xiamen Kingdomway Group Co., Pacific Rainbow International Inc., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. Inc., Maypro Industries Inc. and ShenZhou Biology & Technology Co. Ltd. of infringing on the new ‘340 patent.
Also on March 22, ZMC-USA LLC and Zhejiang Medicine Co., Hangzhou, China, filed two complaints for declaratory judgment in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, and U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, against Kaneka Corp. According to ZMC, the ‘340 patent “offers no improvement over existing technology and is not economically feasible on a commercial scale.” ZMC’s complaint seeks a declaration from the court that the claims of the ‘340 patent are not infringed by ZMC and are both invalid and unenforceable; further the complaint requests Kaneka defend the validity and enforceability of the ‘340 patent.
In its press release, Kaneka stated in regards to the ZMC complaint: “Kaneka believes that these actions are premature and without sufficient legal basis, and plans to file motions with the respective courts to dismiss these actions.”