Dispute over the patent of Siraitia grosvenorii extract

Rhine bio (002166. SZ) chose to take the Mogroside products exported by Guilin jifos Luohanguo Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as jifos) as infringing one of its own patents (hereinafter referred to as “the patent involved”). However, after that, Giffords countercharged Rhein for its infringement of trade secrets after submitting its confidential information in the lawsuit. According to the reporter’s understanding, in the case of Rhine biology v. Giffords for patent infringement, Guangzhou intellectual property court has carried out on-site evidence preservation for this case. The case will be heard for the first time on April 13, 2020. According to public information, the case is currently under the on-site investigation procedure. “< p > < p > < p > an intellectual property lawyer said,” patent cases involving on-site investigation and even further technical appraisal may last a very long time, and many patent cases will last for two or three years or even longer. ” It is worth noting that the patent involved in Rhine biology has entered the window period of patent protection. The patent was applied in 2003 and will expire in 2023. This means that if the case continues for two to three years, the patent involved may have expired. Luo Huayang, deputy general manager and Secretary of the board of directors of Rhein biology, said that the history of production of Siraitia grosvenorii extract can be traced back to the mid-1990s, while the registration date of Giffords was 2004, that is, the time when the company obtained the patent in 2003 was earlier than the establishment date of Giffords. For more than 20 years, Siraitia grosvenorii extract has always been an important variety of the company. As the leading enterprise in the plant extraction industry and the first listed company in the industry, the company always leads the whole industry in terms of production scale, technological capacity, QA system construction and brand influence in the field of plant extraction. He said there was no malicious litigation in the company. In the case of Giffords v. Rhine biological infringement of trade secrets, Giffords told reporters that the first court session was scheduled for September 4. However, the defendant Rhein biological raised a jurisdictional objection. Although the objection to jurisdiction was rejected, the case has not yet entered the substantive trial stage because Rhine appealed against the ruling. Business secrets can be further confirmed after the jurisdiction objection appeal procedure is completed. In fact, intellectual property disputes are not uncommon in the industry. “As long as the plaintiff has a valid patent, he can file a patent lawsuit.” The lawyer said. In addition, patent litigation often occurs in the IPO window period. According to people familiar with the matter, Giffords has internal IPO plans. The headquarters of Rhein biology is also located in Guilin, Guangxi. The company is mainly engaged in plant extraction, and its main products are Momordica grosvenorii extract, stevia extract, and sweet tea extract. Siraitia grosvenorii is native to Guilin, Guangxi, and is listed as the first batch of edible and medicinal plants in China. Only China has commercial planting in the world, and the planting area in Guangxi accounts for 85% of the national (global) planting area. Siraitia grosvenorii is rich in flavonoids, polysaccharides and other effective components, which has the functions of moistening the lung, relieving cough, antioxidant, protecting liver, etc., and is known as “Oriental fruit”. < / P > < p > according to the disclosure, the company filed an invention patent infringement lawsuit against Giffords suspected of infringing the company’s patent No. zl03117430.2, a method for extracting Mogroside from Siraitia grosvenorii. On April 13 this year, a court investigation was conducted at the first hearing of the case. < p > < p > the characteristics of the patents involved are as follows: fresh Siraitia grosvenorii is used as raw material, water is used as extraction solvent, and microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration are the main extraction processes. The patented method limits the pore size or molecular weight of microfiltration membrane, ultrafiltration membrane and nanofiltration membrane. However, according to the public documents, the main production process of Grosvenor glucoside of Giffords is water extraction centrifugation ultrafiltration adsorption decolorization, which lacks some technical characteristics recorded in Rhein biological patent. < / P > < p > from the above process, Rhein’s patent is different from that of Giffords. The main patent of Rhein biology is the membrane filtration process, which uses three membrane processes – microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration to screen the material, and obtain Mogroside. However, Giffords does not use three-layer membrane technology, and its key technology is adsorption resin process. The special adsorption resin has a specific affinity for specific substances, which can absorb Mogroside to achieve the purpose. In a public statement, Giffords said: “in the specification of the invention patent in which Rhein claims its rights, it has clearly stated that there is a huge difference between the technical means to be protected by the patent and those actually used by our company, that is, the technical means actually used in the process of the case being sued.” According to people familiar with the matter, the reason why Giffords countercharged Rhine biological trade secrets is that in the prosecution materials submitted by the other party, it was found that the evidence included the production technology procedures of Giffords for the public, which described each step in detail, including key technical points and operation methods. “At the same time, the other party also provided photos of Giffords’ internal plant and three days’ on-site production records. These information are actually confidential information, and corresponding confidentiality measures have been taken, including signing confidentiality agreements, to ensure that there is no outflow. Therefore, the documents submitted by the other party in the evidence cannot be obtained through reasonable and proper channels. So we believe that the other party is suspected of infringing on our business secrets. ” “At present, we believe that the court will have a fair judgment on the situation of the lawsuit, and it is not convenient to disclose the evidence for the time being,” Luo said < / P > < p > he said, “there is no malicious litigation in the company. At present, there are malicious lawsuits filed by peers, and relevant litigation is also in progress. Rhein has always been committed to maintaining the attitude of competition and cooperation with peers, making the subdivision industry bigger and stronger, and sharing the market dividend. And if the peers take unfair competition means and maliciously smear, then the choice of the company can only be forced to carry out countermeasures. ” < / P > < p > it is worth noting that the Siraitia grosvenorii extract produced by Giffords company passed the GRAS certification in January 2010, which is the first Mogroside extract product approved by FDA in the world. The certification was applied and obtained in the name of the founding shareholder of Giffords, Victoria biotechnology limited. In the GRAS certification document, Giffords described the safety and production method of the product. < / P > < p > “according to relevant regulations, products are exported to the United States. After gras certification, product features and production methods need to follow the production methods described in gras certification.” Giffords told reporters that the method described by Giffords is the production method with its own patent, which is also the method actually used by Giffords. < / P > < p > according to people familiar with the matter, in addition to the above expenses, as the first gras applicant of gefoss Siraitia grosvenorii extract, a large number of safety experiments are required, including the physical and chemical experiments of the product itself, providing experimental data, including the general production process and production effect. The materials and auxiliary materials used in the production process are required to meet the safety standards. And after the first application, the subsequent company certification will be very fast. Because a large number of safety experiments have been completed, there is no need to provide a lot of experimental data. ” < / P > < p > after Giffords, Rhein obtained the fda-gras certification in November of the same year, and its fda-gras certification documents show that Rhine bio directly quoted the data and information provided by Giffords when applying for fda-gras certification. < p > < p > the fda-gras certification document of Rhein biology states that “the composition of go luotm powder extract is similar to that of biovittoria purelo Momordica extract, which is a material previously identified as Gras (GRN 000301), and the food safety and Applied Nutrition Center / Food Additive Safety Office of the U.S. Food and drug administration has no doubt about it.” < / P > < p > the certification document shows that “in order to determine through scientific procedures, it is generally recognized that the use of go luotm powder extract as a general sweetener and flavor improver in food is safe, layn relies on the main evidence of safety described in GRN 000301 and is supported by other studies of go luotm 55% (Mogroside V) powder extract.” Grn000301 is the FDA certification document of Giffords. “As far as I know, gras certification is concerned with product safety, and all safety experiments and data are completed by third-party laboratories approved by FDA,” Luo said In addition, Rhein has strong R & D strength. As of June 30, 2020, the company has obtained 58 national invention patents, including 14 related patents of Siraitia grosvenorii. And always maintain the leading level of the industry, there is no need to refer to other manufacturers’ process routes. < p > < p > Giffords told reporters that it spent a lot of money to carry out gras certification, “of course, for the purpose of marketing. We believe that the U.S. market is the most potential market, and we also aim at the strong demand for health products in these markets. That’s why it took so much time and energy to get certification. ” < / P > < p > based on the relevant customs data obtained from Giffords, as of April 2020, the total export weight of Siraitia grosvenorii products converted into specific glucoside V content by industry practice and actual situation is about 250 tons, including 28 tons in 2018, 44 tons in 2019 and 6 tons in the first April of 2020. In the same period, the total export weight of Siraitia grosvenorii products converted into the same content of Mogroside V is about 477 tons, including 80 tons in 2018, 84 tons in 2019 and 39 tons in April 2020. More than 50% of the export volume of rhesus fruit has been exported. However, due to the involvement of Giffords related Siraitia grosvenorii glucoside products in Rhein biological patent dispute, some customers have questioned the overseas sales of Giffords. In a statement to the outside world, Giffords said, “at present, the information that our company infringes the patent right of Rhein company and that our company can no longer produce, sell and export Siraitia grosvenorii extract are untrue, which damages our business reputation and commodity reputation and disturbs the normal competition order in domestic and foreign markets. Our company reserves the right to sue the publishers and disseminators of such opinions for tort liability. ” < / P > < p > in addition, due to the patent lawsuit, the other party has applied for property preservation, and Giffords has frozen 3 million funds. “Our industry is special. The planting cycle of raw material Siraitia grosvenorii is about half a year. It is planted in April every year and purchased from September to October. Since the centralized purchasing period is from March to April, all enterprises engaged in processing Siraitia grosvenorii must acquire enough raw materials of Siraitia grosvenorii. There will be a very large capital demand, mainly due to the purchase of fresh fruit raw materials. Therefore, the cash flow has a very obvious cyclical capital characteristics. At this stage, the capital demand of many Luohanguo enterprises is very large. ” Giffords said. < / P > < p > it is worth noting that this is not the first time that Rhein has competed with rhein