Natural health and beauty supplement maker Certified Nutraceuticals, Inc. is suing more than a dozen rivals for employing, without permission or compensation, patented processes for manufacturing dietary collagen used to build cartilage and repair tendons.
The lawsuit involves patents on unique methods to extract a specific form of collagen from the flexible cartilage found in chicken sternums and the membranes inside eggshells. These natural dietary supplements are used to ease joint pain and restore mobility.
Inventor Ahmad Alkayali, CEO of Certified Nutraceuticals, in 2000 patented the first process to make the substance, Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II powdered collagen, its use in treating cartilage defects, and the way it is administered. A related patent followed the next year. Two other collagen patents also are being infringed, according to the lawsuit.
Certified Nutraceuticals manufactures and distribute raw ingredients to nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies for use in various dietary and nutritional products. None of the companies named in the lawsuit hold patents on any formulas or on the processes for creating Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II, nor do they have permission to use the patents or any other related methods to make their collagen, the lawsuit claims.
Los Angeles Attorney Daryoosh Khashayar, of Khashyar Law Group, filed the complaint July 11 in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The suit seeks an injunction to stop the defendants from producing, promoting, licensing or selling any collagen produced by infringing Alkayali’s patents. It also seeks damages, restitution for lost income, and all profits the companies took in as a result.
Defendants named in the suit are: Nutrawise Inc., Neocell Corp., Collagen M.D. Inc., and Darren Rude, of Orange County, Calif.; Axe Wellness, of Tennessee; Dr. Venessa’s Formulas, and Iris Trading, of Florida; Nutra Food Ingredients, of Michigan; Mercola.com Health Resources and Dr. Joseph Mercola, of Illinois; Vesta Ingredients Inc., of Indiana; Neutraceutical Corp., of Utah; and New England Greens, LLC., of Connecticut.
Certified Nutraceuticals, of Pauma Valley, in unincorporated San Diego County, produces a full line of patented, natural supplements that ease inflammation in joints, repair damaged connective tissues, improve the health of skin and hair, and boost the immune system.
There are three main types of collagen. Types I and III are primarily found in skin, tendon and bone. In contrast, Type II is found predominantly in articular cartilage.