Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 16, 2014, 8:00am

SAN ANTONIO (Legal Newsline) - Mission Pharmacal said Tuesday a Texas federal court has upheld its dual-iron patent covering one of the most prescribed prenatal vitamins.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas issued a consent judgment confirming the validity of U.S. Patent No. 6,521,247.

Mission sued Florida-based Virtus Pharmaceuticals LLC in federal court in March 2013. Mission claimed that Virtus knew about the ‘247 patent when it copied the ingredients of Mission’s CitraNatal Assure for its Natalvirt CA supplement and Mission’s CitraNatal 90 DHA for its Natalvirt 90 DHA supplement.


“Mission Pharmacal stands behind our patent covering our Ferr-Ease dual-iron delivery system in our popular CitraNatal family of prenatal vitamins,” said Lee Cusenbary, general counsel for Mission. “The consent judgment supports our continued belief in the validity of the ‘247 patent in all respects.”


The ‘247 patent protects CitraNatal’s use of a specific combination of iron that combats iron deficiency anemia before, during and after pregnancy.


“The patented dual-iron formulation used in Mission’s CitraNatal supplements helps pregnant women get the iron they need, yet it is gentle on the gastrointestinal system,” said Nancy Price, senior product manager for CitraNatal.


This isn’t the first time the company has successfully asserted its dual-iron patent.


Last year, PureTek Corporation consented to a judgment that recognized the validity of the ‘247 patent and classified its generic prenatal vitamins as infringing.


And in 2010, two other sources of generic substitutes for patented CitraNatal supplements withdrew from the market once faced with a patent infringement lawsuit.


“We will continue to protect the ‘247 patent with equal vigor against any infringing products,” Cusenbary said Tuesday.


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