Sucralose patent ruling goes against Tate & Lyle

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — A final ruling on a patent infringement case went against Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. April 6. The full six-person U.S. International Trade Commission ruled certain manufacturers and importers of sucralose made in the People’s Republic of China did not infringe on three Tate & Lyle sucralose patents. The panel upheld the initial ruling of an administrative law judge of the I.T.C. on Sept. 22, 2008.

Despite the ruling, Tate & Lyle said it will review the I.T.C.’s full final determination and evaluate its possible options in regards to any further appeals through the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tate & Lyle Sucralose, Inc., a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle, alleged patent infringement of three Chinese manufacturing groups and 18 importers and distributions in a case filed May 10, 2007.

"While this development is disappointing, intellectual property is just one of the many components that define Tate & Lyle’s formidable competitive advantage in the global sucralose business," said Karl Kramer, president of Tate & Lyle Sucralose. "Our manufacturing facilities operate at a level of cost, efficiency and environmental stewardship surpassed by none, producing sucralose that meets the highest standards of quality, purity and hygiene."

Executives of Changzhou Niutang, one of the Chinese manufacturing groups named in the suit, applauded the I.T.C. ruling.

"We are delighted with the decision, which successfully concludes the I.T.C.’s proceedings with a complete victory in favor of Niutang," said Licheng Wang Jr., general manager of Changzhou Niutang.

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