From Pet Food Industry Magazine, today:
Nestle/Purina vs. Wysong over patent
Release Date: Monday, February 09, 2009
"Nestle, parent company of Purina, and the Wysong Corp., a health education and nutritional development company, have filed suits against one another in the Eastern District Federal Court in Missouri, according to a press release by the Wysong Corp.
The suits are related to a technology invented by Dr. R. L. Wysong in the early 1980s to enrobe pet and human foods with probiotics – health-giving organisms such as found in yogurt. Although Wysong’s company did not seek a patent, it has used the technology in both animal and human foods since the early 1980s.
Nestle/Purina obtained a patent granted in 1999 for the same technology. To this date, however, Purina has not incorporated probiotics in its own products. Instead, it is attempting to prevent Wysong and other companies from enrobing dry extruded petfoods with probiotics unless a licensing fee is paid to Purina, according to Wysong.
A patent is not valid if the invention (prior art) exists in the public domain prior to the patent. The evidence of Wysong’s prior art for over 15 years before the 1999 Nestle patent was granted is, according to Wysong, incontrovertible and ample. In fact, within the last few years just a portion of Wysong’s prior art evidence swayed a European patent review board to deny Nestle/Purina a like European patent. The decision was upheld upon appeal."