NPA: Intellectual Property Protection Key to Consumer Safety & Innovation for Natural Products Industry

Vitamin and dietary supplements

Washington, D.C.—Stressing the importance of intellectual property protection for both consumer safety and product innovation, the Natural Products Association (NPA) has filed comments with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office calling for strong intellectual property protection for nutritional supplements. NPA submitted comments regarding a patent eligibility jurisprudence study requested by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Maize Hirono (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Chris Coons (D-DE).

“Intellectual property is a critical issue for NPA,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., NPA President and CEO. “Our members are very reliant on IP protection and invest millions of dollars in new products each year with the expectation that their property rights will be protected, especially from overseas competitors.”

In the comments, NPA noted: The companies marketing reliable, branded products are nearly always the ones also seeking patent protection because those same companies want to maximize the returns for their investment and have their product recognized to be safe by consumers. Additionally, consumers look to trusted brands knowing that those companies are more likely to sell and manufacture safe products. This assumption is premised on the notion that a reputable brand carries its associated goodwill in the arms of the product’s safety—something a company does not want to risk diminishing via consumer harm from a knockoff competitor. The entirety of the dietary supplement product development, claim substantiation, marketing, and subsequent regulatory approval are frequently initiated by the foundational technology contained within the associated patents. Put simply: reputable brands and companies invest in patents, seek parallel regulatory approval, and make safe products. 

Dr. Fabricant explained that greater protections for those investments will lead to more innovation as well as better consumer safety, adding: “NPA will continue lead on this issue and work with Congress and the Administration on policies that respect the property rights of our members.”

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