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Chinese company wins intellectual property legal process in United States

JK Sucralose Inc., one of the biggest sucralose manufacturers and exporters in China, has won an intellectual property legal process in the United States, the company said yesterday.

"The US president did not take the decision to veto an earlier administrative ruling in the company's favor before the deadline expired yesterday, that means JK Sucralose won the case," Florey Ye, senior vice president of JK Sucralose US Inc., told Xinhua.

Tate & Lyle, one of the world's largest sugar companies, lodged a complaint against three Chinese sucralose manufacturers with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in April 2007, claiming the Chinese companies' products sold in the United States infringed on its intellectual properties.

Based in Jiangsu Province, east China, JK Sucralose also has sales and quality control operations in the United States.

"JK sucralose was not among the three companies accused by Tate& Lyle, but the company, fearing an ITC ruling could possibly deny its access to the US market, took the initiative to join the investigation and fought hard to prove its innocence some three months after Tate & Lyle lodged the complaint," said Ye.

According to relevant US regulations, when there is such a complaint, the ITC would begin an intervening investigation and only companies whose products are certified by the ITC that do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of the accusing company could enter the US market. The products of other companies, accused or not, will be blocked out.

Globally, the high intensity sweetener market is worth US$1.3 billion. Sucralose is the number one sweetener by value in food, with a 36-percent share. North America is the world's largest market for high intensity sweeteners and sucralose is the leader with a 48-percent share of the market.

The ITC ruled on April 6 this year that the products of JK Sucralose sold in the United States did not infringe on the intellectual property rights of Tate & Lyle.

After spending about US$3 million of legal fees and winning a favorable administrative ruling, the company's chief An Lijun stressed in the statement that the whole legal process, though expensive, had cleared all legal obstacles for the company's products to further tap into the vast US market.

The US president has the right to veto the ITC ruling within 60 days and inaction on the president's part before the deadline would enable the ruling to be immediately effective and legally binding.

"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," said Florey Ye.


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