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Building and Protecting the Intellectual Property of IngredientsBuilding and Protecting the Intellectual Property of Ingredients

Bob Green

January 31, 2012

2 Min Read
Building and Protecting the Intellectual Property of Ingredients

As far as I’m concerned, building and protecting the intellectual property of a branded ingredient starts with science and quality assurance – and ends, potentially, in a court of law. 

A branded ingredient can’t simply be “all-natural.” To have value, it must have proven applications. Otherwise, what’s the difference between a branded ingredient and generic? The investment in research can never end if a branded ingredient is to add value to a formula, build interest at retail, withstand detractors’ scrutiny, and endure the test of time in an ever-changing industry.

Anyone investigating bitter orange, for example, will find that most research studies use our patented bitter orange extract, Advantra Z, rather than generic. That’s because Nutratech has supported ongoing research since Advantra Z’s launch 15 years ago. In fact, research led us to the key differentiating factor for our branded ingredient. 

We discovered Advantra Z’s dominant amine is p‑synephrine – a stable synephrine isomer that triggers thermogenesis; it is devoid of m‑synephrine, which can raise blood pressure. This is a huge selling point for selecting Advantra Z over generic.

Branded ingredients are in great demand today – due to quality issues in the marketplace and cGMPs. Finished goods manufacturers must meet the cGMPs, so they naturally look for ingredients that follow strict quality assurance/control guidelines. A branded ingredient must provide the safety, security, and scientific support necessary for the long-term viability of a consumer brand.

Stable supplier relationships are key to this quality control process.  Branded ingredients like Advantra Z require stringent harvesting and manufacturing methods. You can’t change suppliers overnight and deliver this kind of quality. Nutratech has developed long-term partnerships with Asian suppliers and worked hands-on to hone manufacturing practices that meet Western quality standards.  It’s the only way a branded ingredient supplier can guarantee consistent quality.

The greatest misconception is that investment in research and quality controls makes branded ingredients expensive. Of course, branded materials may cost a bit more. But manufacturers need to understand the time- and cost-savings. Quality, branded ingredients like Advantra Z facilitate product development, optimize productivity, and reduce waste.  Truth is, often the price difference is negligible. With Advantra Z and generic bitter orange, it’s an average of only one‑third of one penny per dose!

Should you patent a branded ingredient? Yes!  When suppliers invest in research and quality controls, they must protect them. But patents are worthless if you don’t rigorously defend them. We always do – in a court of law, if necessary. A branded ingredient’s value is rooted in safety and efficacy – and the research and quality assurance protocols that support it.  Protecting this investment helps ensure an ingredient’s ability to withstand the test of time. 

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