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Glanbia calls for legal action in United States to be dismissed


Fighting talk: Glanbia is resisting an attempt to stop it importing taurine to the US

Fighting talk: Glanbia is resisting an attempt to stop it importing taurine to the US

Fighting talk: Glanbia is resisting an attempt to stop it importing taurine to the US

Glanbia filed a response to legal action being taken against it in the United States by chemical tech company Vitaworks, stating the complaint should be dismissed "in its entirety".

In the case, Vitaworks alleges Glanbia is importing into the US drinks supplement taurine, which it claims the Kilkenny-headquartered company is sourcing from a Chinese maker Qianjiang Yongan Pharmaceutical (QYP), a company Vitaworks is taking separate legal action against.

Vitaworks claims the Chinese company ripped off its patent on how to produce taurine in an environmentally friendly manner.

Vitaworks, according to its website, has developed technologies for producing taurine that reduces both the chemicals used and waste generated in the production process.

Taurine is used in food, energy drinks, animal feed and pharmaceuticals.

Major branded energy drinks containing it include Red Bull and Monster.

In its response, Glanbia said Vitaworks has failed to identify any alleged patent infringement.

"Vitaworks' complaint should be dismissed for this reason alone," the response states. In addition, Glanbia said Vitaworks did not produce any facts with regards QYP's manufacturing process.

"The complaint does not allege any facts regarding QYP's manufacturing process, much less attempt to link particular steps of QYP's process with particular steps of the patented process(es)," Glanbia said.

The response filed by lawyers for Glanbia added Vitaworks is "actively developing" a patent portfolio related to taurine production.

Glanbia said Vitaworks should not be allowed to use its "inadequately pleaded complaint" as means to discovering "and later potentially patenting non-party QYP's confidential and proprietary taurine production processes". A Glanbia spokesperson said: "[It] does not discuss the detail of legal proceedings but we will defend our position in relation to this or any other matter."

Attempts were made to contact Vitaworks for comment.

Glanbia's total revenue last year rose 16.6pc to €3.87bn on a constant currency basis, while pre-exceptional ebita declined 7.8pc to €276.8m.

The company last month said it has capacity to spend €140m on a share buyback in coming months as the group completes a massive product cull within its performance nutrition business designed to refocus the division.

Irish Independent