Preliminary patent ruling goes against Tate & Lyle

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — A preliminary ruling on a patent infringement case went against Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. Sept. 22. Charles Bullock, an administrative law judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission, ruled certain manufacturers and importers of sucralose made in the People’s Republic of China did not infringe on three Tate & Lyle sucralose patents. A six-person commission is scheduled to make a final determination in January.

"We intend to petition for an appeal of the decision by the full commission," said Robert Gibber, general counsel of London-based Tate & Lyle.

Tate & Lyle Sucralose, Inc., a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle, alleged patent infringement of three Chinese manufacturing groups and 18 importers and distributions in a case filed May 10, 2007.

Executives of Changzhou Niutang, one of the Chinese manufacturing groups, are confident the commission in January will confirm the judge’s Sept. 22 ruling, said Licheng Wang, Jr., general manager of Changzhou Niutang.

"We have always respected the intellectual property rights of other companies, and we have made significant investments in our own research, development and manufacturing processes," Mr. Wang said. "In fact, we have significantly expanded our capacity to produce sucralose to meet the rising demands of our customers."

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