Nutratech is seeing growing sales for its Advantra Z in the wake of negative publicity for ephedra and an impending ban on the herb. But this opportunity has also spurred wide use of the generic herb, posing significant competition to products that have invested in research.
Nutratech's case, filed in September last year, held Nutrabiotics liable for making claims exclusively licensed to Nutratech on labels and marketing material for the rival firm's Thermofuel Lite and LipoLean products. The company has agreed to refrain from infringing on the four patents licensed from a firm called Zhishin. It has also paid an undisclosed sum for past infringement of the patents.
"By purchasing Advantra Z, Nutratech's customers can utilize these claims, subject to their attorney's comments and/or approval, on their product's label and marketing support material," said Marc Brucker, a Nutratech principal. "This gives Nutratech's customers a marketing advantage over their competition that may be purchasing the generic Citrus aurantium, and therefore, cannot legally make these claims."
He added that unlike generic counterparts on the market, most of the research on Citrus aurantium has been conducted using Advantra Z, said to use optimal harvesting techniques and a proprietary extraction process to produce a unique composition of five synergistic adrenergic amines: synephrine, n-methyltyramine, hordenine, octopamine and tyramine.
The patented claims licensed to Nutratech refer to Citrus aurantium's effects on stimulating thermogenesis, reducing weight loss, increasing lean muscle mass to total body mass, improving athletic performance and suppressing appetite.
Many of these are similar to the effects produced by ephedra. Nutratech claims its product works just as effectively when used properly, without the potentially negative central nervous system and cardiovascular side effects seen with ephedra. Bitter orange is however set to come under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration, as it attempts to show increased control over the food supplements industry. Aristolochic acid and usnic acid are also slated for closer investigation, suggested FDA commissioner Mark McClellan in a recent speech.