By: Rebecca Rose, biochemist and founder of In Clover

Have you ever gone into the office after a weekend of hiking and camping under the stars only to hear a co-worker say they also went camping… in their car… at a crowded campsite? Even though those are both forms of “camping,” they’re not the same. Patents face a similar communication problem.

A patent indicates uniqueness and a protected status. In the supplement industry, the gold standard is patenting the entire product. This is difficult mostly because of the high burden of proof required to achieve this type of patent. The patented supplement has to demonstrate that the combination of ingredients has been shown to offer a unique benefit. This can be shown through stringent clinical studies. The supplement has to be so different that the combination of ingredients and how it works is not obvious. The formulation has to be so special and thoughtful that no one has ever created it before and the patent protects that formulation as unique.

The other kind of patent is for an individual ingredient, such as vitamin C or blue-green algae. Of course, these ingredients are not unique. The patent is not about the thoughtfulness of the ingredient, but instead, for a tweak they made to the production process. Ingredient patents are used to protect a brand and do not have the value of a complete supplement patent. Sometimes, the claimed patent is simply for an ingredient the company purchased, and they may not have added it to their product in the levels listed in the patent. This is crowded car camping at its worst!

Examine your supplement labeling, and see if the patent reference applies to an ingredient or the entire product. At In Clover, we have three issued product and method patents for Connectin joint supplement*. This reflects the unique formulation, the effective combination of ingredients and the stringent clinical studies Connectin has completed. Give your pet the patented, complete and proven support of Connectin.

*Connectin Joint Supplement, U.S Patent Numbers 5,916,565; 6,344,220; 6,709,682. Product and Method for Treating Joint Disorders.