By Eric Schweibenz
On February 26, 2009, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to institute an investigation of Certain Non-Shellfish Derived Glucosamine And Products Containing Same.

The investigation is based on a January 28, 2009 complaint filed by Cargill, Incorporated of Wayzata, Minnesota.  The complaint alleges violations of section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain non-shellfish derived glucosamine and products containing same.  According to the complaint, the products at issue in this investigation are “vegan” glucosamine compositions typically used as nutritional supplements.

The ITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

•  Nantong Foreign Trade Meds. & Health Prods. Co., Ltd of China;
•  DNP International, Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, California;
•  Tiancheng International, Inc. (USA) of Ontario, California;
•  Hygieia Health Co., Ltd. of China;
•  TSI Health Sciences, Inc. of Missoula, Montana; and
•  Ethical Naturals, Inc. of San Anselmo, California.

In its complaint, Cargill alleges that the respondents infringe claims 1-10 of U.S. Patent No. 7,049,433.

Regarding potential relief, Cargill’s complaint seeks a general exclusion order (in addition to a limited exclusion order and cease and desist order) in view of a “widespread pattern of violation of Section 337” and the difficulty in identifying “all the sources of infringing non-shellfish glucosamine and products containing same.” 

ALJ Robert K. Rogers, Jr. has been assigned to handle this investigation.  On February 27, 2009, ALJ Rogers issued Order No. 3 setting a pre-hearing conference for March 11, 2009.