FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 19, 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.
"We are strictly against using lawsuits as a tactic. We prefer instead to compete based on what our customers value, which is by offering high quality products with excellent pricing and high transparency," said KSM-66's CEO Kartikeya Baldwa. "Natreon filed a lawsuit against us first, in August 2016, apparently because of frustration about KSM-66's success. They also issued press statements about it and tried to use those statements in the media to hurt us. We took the high road and did not issue any counter press statements, because we respect the litigation process and chose to work quietly and diligently through the court system. But then Natreon continued working outside of the courts by email-blasting our customers and other companies. Natreon then harassed some our customers, serving subpoenas without even waiting for the discovery responses from the parties. Ixoreal is a family business, and we consider our customers as our family too. Natreon's tactics left us with no choice but to defend ourselves and our customers, and issue this press statement to explain our side. It is sad because this is not the way business should be conducted and is not good for the industry."
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 ticme; (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 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." 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."