BNLfood Sues Martek Biosciences Corporation (MATK) for Monopolistic Business Practices  
2/18/2011 10:04:41 AM

February, 18, 2011 -- BNLfood, a European producer of naturally-derived Omega-3 and Omega-6 nutrition additives for infant formula, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Martek Bioscience Corp., alleging that the company is blocking BNLfood from competing in the United States.

Martek is the monopolist in the United States for these infant formula additives. Faced with an emerging competitive threat from BNLfood, the suit alleges that Martek has locked up nearly all of the potential U.S. infant formula customers through exclusive contracts in order to maintain Martek's monopoly position. The suit alleges that the exclusive contracts will unfairly keep BNLfood out of the United States for at least the next four years.

BNLfood filed its suit to force Martek to compete fairly and allow customers to choose a supplier based on price, quality, service and the merits of the product. The suit also asks for compensation from Martek due to damages BNLfood has suffered and will continue to suffer arising from Martek's illegal conduct. The suit alleges that Martek will reap hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of its anticompetitive behavior.

The complaint alleges that BNLfood has for several years been working to enter the United States market for sales of nutrition ingredients Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid ("DHA") and Omega-6 arachidonic acid ("ARA") for infant formula. BNLfood currently markets and sells its DHA and ARA in Europe and Asia. BNLfood is in the advanced stages of the Food and Drug Administration voluntary approval process and has invested heavily in regulatory, marketing, and research and development efforts to develop a client base in the U.S. and abroad for sales of DHA and ARA. BNLfood is positioned to enter the U.S. market for DHA and ARA infant formula ingredients within the calendar year.

BNLfood CEO Marc Weissberg commented: "BNLfood looks forward to the opportunity to sell its natural Omega-3 and Omega-6 ingredients in the United States once Martek's anti-competitive monopoly is broken."

Representing BNLfood in the matter is White & Case Partner George Paul.


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