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August 30, 2011
HOUSTONKaneka Corp. voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit originally filed in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, which charged ZMC-USA LLC and Zhejiang Medicine Co. Ltd. with infringement of Kanekas U.S. patent (No. 7,910,340) covering production of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). The claims were transferred to U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas; after a conference on Aug. 22, the judge ordered Kaneka to withdraw letters the judge considered deceptive" that Kaneka had sent to the industry alleging ZMCs patent infringement. Kaneka did not set a timetable for sending out the withdrawal notices, and was ordered to appear before the court on Aug. 26 to show cause why it should not be held in contempt for violating the Aug. 22 order. On Aug. 25, Kaneka filed notice dismissing all causes of action in the complaint against ZMC-USA and Zhejiang Medicine Co.
The U.S. patent at issue was assigned to Kaneka on March 22, and relates to a process for producing ubiquinol and ubiquinone. As reported by INSIDER, Kaneka and ZMC both then filed legal actions, with Kaneka alleging patent infringement, and ZMC asking for declaratory judgment that the 340 patent claims are invalid and unenforceable.
In regards to the dismissal of the complaint in U.S. District Court, Scott Steinford, president of ZMC-USA, commented, We are pleased that Kaneka dismissed its lawsuit. We look forward to a prompt resolution of this dispute in the remaining lawsuit initiated by ZMC/ZMC-USA in Houston."
The letters referenced in the Aug. 22 court order were sent out by Aldi Law Group in mid-June, after Kaneka filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) alleging unfair trade practices by importing and selling CoQ10 products related to the patent at issue. In addition to ZMC and Zhejiang Medicine Co., the complaint also named Xiamen Kingdomway Group Co., Pacific Rainbow International Inc., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. Inc., Maypro Industries and Shenzou Biology & Technology Co. Ltd. In a statement issued Aug. 31, Kaneka stated the letters "constitute a valid exercise of its patent rights under controlling law;" however, instead of challenging the Aug. 22 order, it was more expedient to dismiss the district court lawsuit and focus on the USITC complaint. The company stated: "Kaneka has not relinquished any substantive rights by dismissing its lawsuit against ZMC; its claims against ZMC remain pending in the ITC investigation and in the other action filed by ZMC [in the Houston court]. Kaneka is confident of vindicating its patent rights in both actions."
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