Mannatech, a Texas-based network-marketing company, was awarded $250,000 in damages after it settled a patent infringement dispute in U.S. District Court regarding its glycobiotic products. In addition to the financial damages, the judge issued a permanent injunction against Techmedica Health and Ionx Holdings for their infringement on five of Mannatech’s patents. This is now the third permanent injunction that courts have awarded against multiple parties on Mannatech’s behalf.
The victory is significant for Mannatech and for the dietary supplement industry, which often sees unscrupulous companies “borrow” science from other firms without permission—many times without consequences. “These victories should serve as a significant deterrent to any legitimate company looking to operate within the law,” said Keith Clark, Mannatech’s executive vice president and chief legal officer. Still, Clark recognizes that the legal department’s work is ongoing and vigilance is the only way to protect the company’s valuable investment in science. “Unfortunately, operating within the law is not always the primary concern of some companies. Because of this we expect that more litigation will be necessary to convince those who would, in your words—borrow our science—that patent infringement is a bad strategic plan with dire consequences.”
All too frequently, companies known to steal science will operate only long enough to make a profit and then move operations to a new location under a new name. The only way to deter such actions is to make those firms aware that the financial penalty associated with their misconduct is significant. “We would expect that as more companies infringing our patents lose their products, are hit with significant financial costs from judgments and legal fees, or are put out of business, the people who made these decisions will be forced to re-think them,” Clark told Nutrition Business Journal.
Global companies hoping to protect their science should also be aware of the legal policies in the country where they are doing business. “Differences in patent grants, enforcement mechanisms, regulatory environments and legal systems keep us constantly evaluating our strategy.”
Related NBJ Links:
Mannatech Cuts U.S. Workforce by 15%
Glycobiology Fuels Double-Digit Growth for Mannatech
Direct Sales: A Breeding Ground for Bad Claims?
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