Swigen wins stevia patent lawsuit

Rancho Santa Margarita, California. The US District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana ruled May 24 in favor of SweeGen, Inc. On PureCircle USA, Inc. In a patent suit they include Rebaudioside M, a steviol glycoside within a stevia leaf that closely resembles the sweetness of sugar.

“Today’s ruling endorses Swigen and affirms the company’s position as a leader in innovative sweetening solutions,” said Stephen Chen, CEO of Swigen.

Chicago-based PureCircle, which was acquired by Ingredion, Inc. In 2020, SweeGen sued in September 2018. As part of the lawsuit, PureCircle accused SweeGen of infringing two patents covering the manufacture of Reb M.

US Patent No. 9243273 involves conversion of Rebaudioside D to Rebaudioside X, also known as Rebaudioside M, using an enzyme called UDP-glucosyltransferase. This technology makes Reb M, which is minimally present in stevia leaves, more cost-effective to use for reducing sugar in applications such as beverages, dairy and other food. The patent was issued on January 26, 2016.

On February 21, 2017, SweeGen announced the marketing of its Bestevia Rebaudioside M product, according to the lawsuit, describing the process for making it a “proprietary and patent-pending biotransformation” and also an “enzymatic conversion.” According to the lawsuit, SweeGen has an exclusive license agreement with Conagen, which owns US Patent No. 10,023,604 issued on July 17, 2018. This patent includes a method for converting Reb D into Reb M. By converting Reb D into Reb M. Using UDP-glucosyltransferase.

“Based on the information and belief, the defendants committed acts of infringement, directly and indirectly, within this territory and the State of California by, inter alia, making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing, advertising and/or promoting products in such territory that infringe a single claim or More to the patent in the lawsuit,” the 2018 lawsuit said.

But according to SweeGen, the legal tide turned when the company obtained a summary judgment stating that both of PureCircle’s confirmed patents were invalid. The court’s invalidity of the patent terminated the infringement lawsuit.

“As the owner of core proprietary technologies for wellness ingredients, Swijn vigorously protects its own intellectual property rights and respects the rights of others,” said Mr. Chen. “We have always maintained that PureCircle’s patents were invalid and that its case against Swigen was spurious.”

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