Darwen, director, intellectual property, at Tate & Lyle, was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after the firm announced that its original sucralose production facility in McIntosh, Alabama was back in business after a two-year hiatus.
While losing a high-profile patent infringement case against selected Chinese sucralose manufacturers in 2009 was a setback, the patents in question related to a production process that Tate & Lyle no longer uses, said Darwen.
“The patents at issue in that case related to our original process and have now largely expired. We continue to patent new developments in large-scale efficient sucralose production.”
Patents covering key elements of Tate & Lyle’s continuous production process go out well into the next decade
He added: “Patents covering key elements of Tate & Lyle’s unique continuous production process go out well into the next decade ensuring Tate & Lyle will continue to lead the way in sucralose for many years to come.”
The London-based firm, which holds 31 patents on sucralose manufacturing technology and applications, “continues to file patent applications relating to sucralose primarily relating to manufacturing processes but also for commercial product forms”, added Darwen.
“Tate & Lyle’s fourth generation proprietary process for manufacturing sucralose is, we believe, the most efficient process in use today in terms of yield and resource use in terms of energy and water use and it minimizes the generation of waste streams.”
Rivals 'cannot match' 4
As a continuous process, which is “unique in the industry”,Tate & Lyle’s fourth generation technology “offers significant benefits in terms of yield and sustainability others cannot match with batch processing using earlier technology”, he claimed.
The process, employed at its two production facilities in Singapore and Alabama, ensured that they “both operate at a level of efficiency, environmental stewardship and sustainability surpassed by none”, he added.
“We continue to offer our customers the highest standards of quality, traceability and reliability in the industry.”
While Tate & Lyle is not currently involved in any patent litigation over sucralose, it “continues to monitor its intellectual property relating to sucralose and will take appropriate action if it believes that its IP is being infringed”, said Darwen.
Click here to see what Chinese rival JK Sucralose has to say about production efficiency.
Click here to read our interview with James Blunt, senior VP product management and marketing, at Tate & Lyle.
Click here to read our interview with Mark Huber, plant manager at Tate & Lyle's McIntosh sucralose factory.
Click here to look at our picture gallery of Tate & Lyle's plant in Alabama.