ST. LOUIS, Nov 13, 2003 -- The European Patent Office has published an official notice that it has fully examined and approved a major patent application belonging to ZeaVision, L.L.C. (St. Louis, MO). This European patent, which will be enforceable in Great Britain, France, Germany, and numerous other European nations, greatly increases ZeaVision's patent rights covering formulations and uses for zeaxanthin, a natural carotenoid that plays a major role in protecting human eyesight.
Zeaxanthin is one of two pigments found in the "macula," a yellow-colored disc, at the center of the human retina. The macula is about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil. Lutein is the other pigment in the macula; however, zeaxanthin has certain traits that render it better than lutein at cellular and retinal deposition, absorbing damaging light, and neutralizing toxic free radicals. Therefore, zeaxanthin is deposited in higher concentrations in the exact center of the retina, which is crucial for vision. Degeneration of the macula is the leading cause of blindness among the elderly.
"We are extremely pleased that the European Patent Office has accepted and supported the claims and property rights set forth in our patent application," said Dennis Gierhart, CEO & Chairman of ZeaVision. "We have been working on that application for years, with an entire team of lawyers, and the European Patent Office had a committee of patent examiners studying and challenging it. We overcame every challenge and we are proud of the result."
Similar patents issued in the United States are being litigated by ZeaVision, in a lawsuit against Roche Vitamins (the manufacturer) and one retailer. Two other retailers initially were sued, but they settled with ZeaVision under a license agreement. Roche Vitamins was recently acquired by DSM, a Dutch chemical company.
About ZeaVision, L.L.C.
St. Louis-based ZeaVision L.L.C. (www.zeavison.com), an emerging nutraceutical company, developed and markets ZeaVision, a dietary supplement containing zeaxanthin and formulated to help prevent and/or impede the progression of macular degeneration. The company holds multiple patents on the ZeaVison formula, which is available without a prescription in a 10-milligram or 3-milligram supplement.