Plant-based burgers developed by Not possible Meals Inc. are seen on the 2nd China Worldwide Import Expo (CIIE) on the Nationwide Exhibition and Conference Heart on November 6, 2019 in Shanghai, China.
China Information Service | Getty Pictures
Plant-based meat maker Not possible Meals may very well be liable to shedding a key patent as a part of an ongoing authorized dispute with competitor Motif FoodWorks.
Motif requested the U.S. Patent and Trademark Workplace to revoke a patent held by Not possible defending the corporate’s heme know-how. Not possible sued Motif in March, claiming that the start-up’s heme-based beef different too carefully imitates its personal model.
Not possible’s beef and pork substitutes use soy leghemoglobin, which is produced from genetically modified yeast, to mimic the style and aroma of actual meat.
Each firms are privately owned, though Not possible is far bigger, with a valuation of $9.5 billion. Together with publicly traded Beyond Meat, Not possible has helped rejuvenate the marketplace for vegetarian burgers. Shedding its patent on heme may imply even stiffer competitors throughout the meat different market.
Motif filed a petition with the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Attraction Board on Wednesday to ask a panel of judges to overview Not possible’s patent and weigh whether or not it must be revoked.
“We’re assured the Patent Trial and Attraction Board will agree with our view that the patent by no means ought to have been issued and revoke it,” a Motif spokesperson mentioned in an announcement to CNBC. “Our trade ought to work collectively to develop the plant-based class for the better good — to learn folks and the planet. Competitors is wholesome. And it ought to play out within the market, not the courts.”
An Not possible spokesperson informed CNBC in an announcement the corporate is assured within the power of its patent and that its expects to prevail in courtroom and earlier than the patent workplace.
“Motif’s stunt is a baseless and meritless try to distract from the truth that they’ve infringed on our patent and are unlawfully utilizing our know-how to construct their enterprise,” the spokesperson mentioned.
Motif has raised $343.5 million from buyers together with Invoice Gates and was valued at $1.23 billion final yr, in line with Pitchbook. It was spun out of biotech start-up Ginkgo Bioworks.
When Motif launched in 2019, Ginkgo co-founder and CEO Jason Kelly told CNBC that Not possible’s success impressed the formation of Motif, which develops key components for making plant-based proteins and leaves the remainder to meals firms.
Not possible alleges that Motif’s Hemami product infringes on its patent for a beef reproduction utilizing heme, a molecule present in conventional beef burgers that Not possible and Motif each use as an ingredient. Motif’s model makes use of bovine myoglobin as its heme supply.
In its authentic criticism, Not possible mentioned its patent covers the invention of a beef substitute that makes use of a muscle reproduction together with a heme-containing protein, at the very least one sugar compound and one sulfur compound. It additionally protects towards the invention of a meat different that mimics meat by way of a fats tissue reproduction that makes use of at the very least one plant oil and a denatured plant protein.