Isoflavone patent upheld

The European Patent Office (EPO) has concluded to uphold the validity of the main application patent for the use of isoflavones in consumer products. This patent is part of a series of Intellectual Properties (IPs) related to isoflavones that covers the use of isoflavones for major health indications.

Health ingredients manufacturer Frutarom, with headquarters in Israel, is the sole licensee for this patent for isoflavones sourced from soy germ, with its SoyLife products. Frutarom congratulates the patent holder Novogen Research with the conclusion of the EPO, upholding the validity of this patent.

The Patent EP 0656786 covers the use of the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and their natural derivatives for health indications such as menopausal symptoms and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Consumer products containing from 20 to 200 mg (daily dosage) of isoflavones that are marketed for these health indications may fall under the protection of this patent.

"Women's health, and specifically the treatment of menopausal symptoms, is the most common indication for products containing isoflavones," says David Hart, Product Manager SoyLife at Frutarom. "In addition to the strong science backing up SoyLife, our customers will benefit from having access to this important positioning for their products."

The patent was upheld by the EPO in a hearing in Munich, Germany, on July 9th. The conclusion came after more than five years of opposition and defense after the EPO originally granted the patent in 2004. This patent is based upon an international patent filing by Novogen Research in 1992 for its work with isoflavone extracts. The European patent was applied for in 1993, and it was granted by the EPO in 2004. A group of commercial interests in Europe registered opposition to the patent, and since then it has been the subject of an intense battle.

Frutarom's SoyLife is the leading soy germ isoflavone product on the market. Isoflavones are supported by a large body of scientific work. SoyLife has been part of more than 35 proprietary studies in the fields of menopause, bone health, heart health, and cognitive function. Results of one recent study, the Osteoporosis Prevention Using Soy (OPUS) study, show that soy germ isoflavones from SoyLife are safe and effective to improve bone health in a group of 400 post-menopausal women. This is in addition to previous studies showing improvements in menopausal symptoms with SoyLife.

SoyLife is available in concentrations varying from 3 per cent to 40 per cent and can be used in tablets, capsules, soft-gel capsules and multiple functional food applications.

"We intend to work in cooperation with potential customers to ensure that they can use the positioning covered by the patent," continues Hart. "This is a validation of our strategy of investing in and developing Intellectual Property, including patents and scientific studies, to support SoyLife and the isoflavone market. We are convinced that the combination of scientific backing and patent protection make SoyLife the best choice for manufacturers."

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