In March, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) filed a lawsuit against ingredients manufacturer Sabinsa over its soy isoflavone product Genimax. New Jersey-based Sabinsa recently agreed its Genimax products infringed ADM patents, but cited the infraction was unintentional.
This victory is the latest in the continuing saga over soy isoflavone rights, as ADM was itself previously embroiled in an isoflavone patent case with soy ingredients supplier Solae.
Filed in the district of New Jersey in March, this latest suit charged Sabinsa with unlawfully using ADM's patented technology in making Genimax.
ADM is one of the leading suppliers of soy isoflavones along with Acatris and Solbar. Its branded Novasoy isoflavones stand to be threatened by any patent infringements. Seven patents, dating from 2001 to 2006, were in question in the Genimax case - these related to methods for preparing and using isoflavones for health issues including menopause.
Soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens - active substances derived from plants that have a weak estrogen-like action. They have been studied for a number of health benefits, including the promotion of heart health and the maintenance of bone health in post-menopausal women.
There is also evidence that they may play a role in cancer prevention and in slowing down the aging process in peri-menopausal women. They have proved to be a popular alternative to hormone replacement therapy for those wishing to control menopause symptoms without resorting to drugs.
In 2003, St Louis-based Solae accused ADM of infringing one of its patents, an issue that was quietly resolved last year when the agribusiness acquired Solae's global soy isoflavone business, including its entire portfolio of US and foreign patents.