Last week we reported that the agreement between Cognis and Natural giving the former group the marketing rights to the Norwegian company's CLA brand Tonalin had finally come into force, but the new agreement has been marred by the filing of a lawsuit against Natural by former Unilever subsidiary Loders Croklaan.
Loders Croklaan USA announced on Friday that it had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Natural in the United States District Court in Delaware. Loders, a major player in the market for nutritional lipids used in dietary supplements and functional foods, was acquired late last year by Malaysia's IOI Corporation.
The lawsuit claims that the processes Natural uses to manufacture the Tonalin CLA nutritional supplement infringe two Loders Croklaan patents.
Loders Croklaan is seeking monetary damages for Natural's infringement of its patents and an injunction prohibiting Natural from infringing its patents in the future.
"These patents are important to Loders Croklaan, and we believe it is important to protect our intellectual property against infringement," said Aat Visser, Loders Croklaan's general manager for lipid nutrition.
Loders Croklaan produces its own brand of CLA supplements, Clarinol, which is marketed as a body weight management product.
Neither Natural nor Cognis have as yet commented on the lawsuit.