Ethical Naturals Settles Glucosamine Patent Dispute with Cargill


n May 8th, 2009, Ethical Naturals Inc. of San Anselmo and Cargill Inc. signed documents to finalize the settlement between the two companies with respect to the production and sale of glucosamine from vegetable sources.

Ethical Naturals Inc. (ENI) owns and markets the GreenGrown™ brand of vegetable glucosamine and Cargill Inc. sells their Regenasure™ brand. Cargill had contended that ENI was infringing it’s patents relating to the manufacture of glucosamine, and they filed actions in the ITC (International Trade Court) and Federal Court for patent infringement. Both court actions have now been withdrawn by Cargill, and there was no admission of infringement of Cargill’s patents by Ethical Naturals.

Under the terms of the joint settlement and licensing agreement, ENI will continue to market it’s GreenGrown™ glucosamine for dietary supplement use in the U.S., but will not sell into Canada, the EU or Brazil. ENI will be free to sell GreenGrown™ for supplement, food and beverage uses in all other parts of the world. Other details of the settlement remain confidential.

” We are pleased to have arrived at this settlement with Cargill,” stated Cal Bewicke , President of Ethical Naturals. ” Although there are some restrictions, we will be continuing to sell our high quality material to our many customers in the U.S. dietary supplement industry, as well as overseas. Frankly, a company of our size can’t take on a legal action against a company of Cargill’s size, whatever the merits of the case, so a settlement is in everyone’s best interest,” ends Bewicke. Cargill, an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services had $120 billion in sales in the fiscal year of 2008.

Glucosamine is a primary ingredient in many joint care formulas, and it is estimated that demand in the U.S. totals over 7,000 tons per year, however the majority of this material is produced in the Asian aquaculture industry from shellfish. Glucosamine from vegetable sources is a relatively new development, and provides a very high grade of material. ENI’s GreenGrown™ glucosamine, meets full USP standards, and is ideal for those who are vegetarian or seek a kosher product.