Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nestle-Purina's Fraudulent Patent

Suppose you invented a process that enhances nutrition in dry foods for pets?  Then, suppose you did not patent it, because you hoped other pet-food manufacturers would adopt it and make their foods healthier as well?  Perhaps, this sounds naive, but that's exactly what Dr. Wysong did in the early 1980's with nurtacueticals and probiotic mixes that Wysong sprays on kibbles.  Many other pet-food companies adopted the technology and use it to enhance the nutritional value of their dry foods.

Along comes Giant Corporation, Nestle-Purina, whose legal eagles notice that this process, which they don't even use, has not been patented.  In 1997, Nestle-Purina applies for and is granted EU and US patents on Wysong's process!  Even more outrageously, Nestle-Purina now demands that Wysong pay them licensing fees to use the process Wysong invented!

Wysong hauled out proof that they invented and used the process some 15 years prior to Nestle-Purina's patent.  Nestle-Purina lost their EU patent, because the European court agreed that Wysong had invented and long used the process prior to Nestle-Purina's fraudulent patent.

The same battle took place in a US court, where the initial verdict was for Wysong..  Nestle-Purina's legal eagles and billions dollar profits are hard to silence, however.  Wysong explains what is happening now (October 2010).
As you may be aware, Purina sued Wysong in late 2008 for using probiotics on extruded pet foods. This is because in 1997 they were granted a patent for this process. The problem is, Wysong was the inventor of this technology and has used it since the early 1980s -- some 15 plus years PRIOR to the patent. Purina wants Wysong to pay them a licensing fee going back to the date of their patent and Wysong refuses.
Purina hopes to exhaust the financial resources of Wysong in court and force us to pay the licensing fee. If successful in getting Wysong to accede, since we have the strongest proof their patent is not valid, Purina will have a clear path to sue the two dozen or so other manufacturers who have copied Wysong’s probiotic technology and began using it after the patent date.

Although we have been able to get the patent office to overturn their patent, a fleet of Purina attorneys appealed and had key elements of the patent retained. So we remain in the thick of the suit, financing a defense of a technology that brings great health benefits to animals and humans (a technology Purina does not even use on their own products!), while the rest of the industry sits on the sidelines.

Obviously, other pet-food companies are not having to pay legal expenses in this suit.  Only Wysong is being financially drained.  Nestle-Purina picked on a small, family-owned company that not only invented the process they seek fraudulently to patent but one that can be more easily drained of resources than, say, Proctor & Gamble or Mars.

If they exhaust Wysong's resources and retain this patent, they can bill every other pet-food company that uses Wysong's technology for licensing fees from 1997 to the present -- a nice financial windfall for Nestle-Purina.

What isn't wrong with this picture?.


  1. Well, you've laid out quite a case here. I must agree with your suggestiion as to the thinking of Wysong behind not claiming a patent on their process. Just because they patent makes it no less easy for other companies to use the process if you give them permission to. Then Wysong controls what they invented. That was a really Pollyanna-ish view given the backdrop of the very predatory business world of the 1980s.

    That said, the EU gave them a fair result and I hope they have now patented there. Our courts outcomes are not so certain. This should be considered a nuisance suit and thrown out on that basis, especially given the win in EU...while our courts may say they don't care what the EU does, in practice that's not true.
    Wysong needs the kind of Law Firm that the environment had in battling P&G in the Erin Brockavich story.

    Why not start a petition
    Perhaps really bad PR amongst pet bloggers will help. It will certainly tell people in a very loud voice exactly what kind of company they are.

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  3. Shame on Nestle Purina for continuing their legal action against Wysong. This seems to be extortion and should be illegal and thrown out of court. Wysong should be awarded reimbursement of all of their legal fees. Please let Nestle Purina know how you feel about this issue: