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Dartmouth and licensee file infringement suit against major customer over vitamin patent

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 10th, 2018

California-based nutraceutical company ChromaDex and the Trustees of Dartmouth College have filed a patent infringement complaint against vitamin manufacturer Elysium Health.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, the complaint alleges that Elysium is misrepresenting its products and using intellectual property from Dartmouth and ChromaDex without proper compensation.

The dispute surrounds patented formulations invented by Dartmouth professor Charles Brenner, who discovered that a form of the B3 vitamin found in milk called nicotinamide riboside (NR) could have nutritional and therapeutic value for humans. Dartmouth licensed the patents to ChromaDex, which began supplying the vitamin to other companies as well as selling its own supplement called TruNiagen.

One of the companies ChromaDex sold to was Elysium Health. In one of the companies’ earlier disputes, ChromaDex claimed that Elysium made a $3 million order but refused to pay for it after delivery, prompting a first suit by ChromaDex for the value of the shipment. The suit was later amended, claiming Elysium also misappropriated trade secrets it obtained by hiring two former employees of ChromaDex.

The current suit over patent infringement was prompted when ChromaDex obtained evidence that Elysium had long planned to harm the company, according to ChromaDex CEO Rob Fried.

“They had identified a new way of making [NR], and they put it on the market and marketed it as research tested and safety tested when any such work was done on the ChromaDex product,” says Fried. “We now believe that we have evidence that supports the idea that this was planned by [Elysium] from the beginning. So that is why we decided now to finally sue [Elysium] for patent infringement.”

Fried says the suit is intended to protect the interests of ChromaDex shareholders and prevent further abuse of its intellectual property, as well as to protect the integrity of university patents in general.

In response to the suit, Elysium vice president of communications Whitney Crystal comments, “Elysium Health is confident that it does not infringe any valid claim of the patents described in ChromaDex’s most recent baseless lawsuit and trusts that the court will arrive at the same conclusion.”

Source: The Dartmouth

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