Ixoreal Biomed sues makers of Sensoril over false claims
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In a statement today, the CEO of Ixoreal Biomed, Kartikeya Baldwa, confirmed that the company has filed a lawsuit against Natreon, Inc. and NutraGenesis, the manufacturer(s) of Sensoril Ashwagandha. Ixoreal Biomed is the manufacturer of KSM-66 Ashwagandha.
Natreon initiated litigation in September of 2016, alleging "false advertising, trade libel, defamation, and tortious interference, among other counts." against the makers of KSM-66.
The most serious claim against KSM-66 was that it contained undeclared milk allergens. While this is no longer the case, there are potentially other distributors of KSM-66 that fail to label the products correctly - causing potential issues for their customers who have dairy allergies.
The full press release can be seen below.
Natreon and NutraGenesis sued for Deceptive Advertising and False Patent Claims on Sensoril
Lawsuit alleges serious misrepresentation of Sensoril patent protection and claims and its health benefits
September 21, 2017 – Los Angeles, California – The manufacturer of KSM-66, the top-selling Ashwagandha extract, previously filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Sensoril producer Natreon and its distributor NutraGenesis, alleging false and deceptive advertising and unfair competition. The manufacturer and its marketer, Ixoreal Biomed Inc. now seek to add additional claims against them for false patent marking, defamation, product disparagement, and tortious interference.
KSM-66’s lawsuit cites documents from the Government of India that show that Sensoril's cost basis is about $25/kg but they sell it in the United States at about $150/kg, a 500% markup. Natreon tried to get the court to strike this from the lawsuit but the court declined. "Natreon and Nutragenesis have been claiming for years that Sensoril comes from a patent-protected process, perhaps to get customers to pay so much for Sensoril," continued Mr. Baldwa. Ixoreal's lawsuit presents evidence that the claim of a patent-protected process cannot be true, based on Natreon's own marketing materials which indicate they follow a process different from what is described in any of their patents. Natreon claims that Sensoril is manufactured using a totally aqueous extraction process but the patents clearly describe a process using alcohol and chloroform. Ixoreal's lawsuit also presents evidence against Natreon's claim of patent protection for Sensoril's composition under U.S. patent No.6,153,198, based on inconsistencies between the patent and Sensoril's specification documents. Natreon and Nutragenesis have also claimed for years that Sensoril is protected by European patent EP 1569669 A2. In reality, this application was withdrawn in 2012 and the European Patent was never issued. KSM-66's lawsuit also alleges that Natreon and NutraGenesis falsely represent that Natreon is the only company with the right to make an extract from ashwagandha roots and leaves. Natreon in fact has no such exclusivity. Mr. Baldwa said, "Natreon's patent misrepresentations are simply astonishing. They continued their misrepresentations even though we complained to them about it as far back as 2013. We feel bad for Sensoril customers affected because false patent markings may mean they will have to recall or re-label every product that cites coverage by U.S. patent 6,713,092 B1 or U.S. patent 6,153,198 or European patent EP 1569669 A2. Patent misrepresentations are serious and can possibly make consumer products manufacturers vulnerable to class action lawsuits."
KSM-66's lawsuit also alleges that Natreon and NutraGenesis make a variety of unsupported claims regarding Sensoril’s health benefits, including that “Sensoril (i) can assist in “effective weight management”; (ii) can reduce the activity of a particular liver enzyme in order to boost energy levels; (iii) suppresses food cravings; (iv) speeds workout recovery time; (v) stimulates anabolic muscle development; (vi) increases metabolism; (vii) promotes the natural synthesis of performance-enhancing hormones. None of these claims are adequately supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in published human clinical studies using Sensoril and containing these outcome measures directly."
"The filing of our lawsuit was done reluctantly as we would much rather devote our efforts to competing in the marketplace, but Natreon left us with no choice," said Mr. Baldwa. "Natreon issued threatening letters for several years, among them making the outlandish claim that KSM-66 was infringing on Sensoril's patents but then withdrawing that claim, and then more threats and an attempt by Sensoril's principal, Dr. Sanni Raju, to get me to engage in unfair trade practices with him," continued Baldwa. In August 2016, Natreon sued KSM-66 alleging that Ixoreal willfully and intentionally does not disclose the use of milk in its process. KSM-66 in fact comes in two versions, one that is pre-treated with milk consistent with traditional Ayurvedic practice, and another version that is milk-free for vegan customers. Mr. Baldwa added, “When serving the lawsuit did not stop KSM-66, Natreon continued its bad faith and tried to cause confusion in the market, by using the industry press to promote its false allegations. And, when that failed, it issued its own press release not once, but twice. It is clear by these actions that Natreon will go to great lengths to preserve Sensoril’s high profit margins and stop us from competing against them."