US sweetener group Sweegen gains key ‘Reb M’ stevia court verdict in PureCircle patent case

US-based sweetener specialist, Sweegen, has gained a key success with a court verdict in America, which had seen it face allegations of patent infringement from fellow sector business PureCircle, over stevia product series Rebaudioside M (Reb M), used widely within confectionery, reports Neill Barston.

The California business was named as the defendant in the case held this week at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with the outcome having potential major implications for development of finished goods across a number of market segments.

As the company noted, Reb M, which is a coveted steviol glycoside molecule, plays a crucial role in the global production of stevia sweeteners, with the business asserting that its win meant that ‘the decision removes any lingering doubt that Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) customers may be encumbered by PureCircle’s patents for using Sweegen’s Reb M.

In the court case, PureCircle had argued that its patents were in fact sufficiently robust in terms of its description, which the judge rejected. In order to fulfil a written description of a patent, it must, according to the court,  “clearly allow persons of ordinary skill in the art to recognise that [the inventor] invented what is claimed.”

Notably, Sweegen added that its latest legal success follows in the wake of related initial court proceedings that had been heard in 2022, with the latest judgement rejecting PurCircle’s claim over two specific patents – “273 patent” “’257 patent” relating to stevia production, which was found not to have adequate written description over precisely what the innovation for these items related to

Sweegen’s CEO Steven Chen, commented: “As one of the staunchest stewards of proprietary technologies in wellness ingredients, Sweegen has actively defended its intellectual property rights while upholding a commitment to respecting the rights of others.

“Throughout this litigation, we consistently asserted the invalidity of PureCircle’s patents, considering their case against Sweegen as baseless and spurious. This triumph in the U.S. Court of Appeals serves to highlight Sweegen’s dedication to principled innovation and fair competition within the industry.”

As the company added, In May 2022, it had secured a summary judgment, declaring PureCircle’s asserted patents related to the production of Reb M as invalid. The ruling is said to now removes any impediments that PureCircle’s patents may have posed for producers in the United States. Specifically, the federal court’s Opinion confirmed the district court’s decision that certain claims in the patents were found invalid due to a lack of written description. Additionally, it determined that a specific claim in one of the patents is unpatentable.

“Sweegen’s commitment to innovation, excellence, and fair competition has been reaffirmed through the successful appeal process,” added Chen. “This victory not only strengthens Sweegen’s position in the market but also contributes to the broader landscape of the stevia sweetener industry. Sweegen is positioned to lead the charge in shaping a landscape of limitless possibilities, delivering unparalleled sweetness to consumers and driving positive change on a global scale.”

In a further move before the end of last year, the company revealed plans to tackle  mislabeling within the stevia industry, specifically concerning Reb M stevia sold under intentionally false claims, which it is continuing to investigate. Through independent testing, the business added that it had discovered third-party Reb M products sold to food and beverage companies under label claims of “Reb-M 95%,” “Bioconversion Reb-M 95%,” or “Stevia (Organic) Extract Reb-M 95%” are not made through extraction or bioconversion.


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