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Vegetarian, Vegan and Animal Rights

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(16,858 posts)
Mon Mar 16, 2015, 07:45 PM Mar 2015

Sigh.... going to have to stop eating some pretty damn awesome chips [View all]

Found out that the vegan bakery we go to (a little bitty shop, locally owned) was named as part of a suit by Smart Balance and Brandeis University.


A small artisan bakery in Bay View has been named, along with more than a dozen corporate cookie makers, as a defendant in a patent infringement lawsuit by Brandeis University over the use of fats and blends to improve the ratio of good to bad cholesterol in their products.

Joining Brandeis as a plaintiff is its licensee for the two patents at issue, New Jersey-based GFA Brands, maker of Smart Balance foods.

The suit, filed in federal court in Madison, claims East Side Ovens and more than a dozen major food corporations - such as Nestle, Pillsbury and Unilever - are infringing on a patent for "Increasing the HDL Level in the HDL/LDL Ratio in Human Serum by Balancing Saturated and Polyunsaturated Dietary Fatty Acids."

The adjustment leads to "significant health improvements," according to the lawsuit.

Amanda Maierhafer, owner of East Side Ovens, said she was unaware of the claim until Thursday.

"I have very little understanding of what they are alleging we have done," she said. "We're a tiny little vegan bakery with seven employees."

East Side Ovens is a wholesaler whose products are sold at some area grocery stores, cafés and farmers markets.

"I think it's got to be a mistake somehow," Maierhafer said.

The suit claims the infringing cookies include East Side Ovens' cranberry orange cookies, along with such national brands as Keebler's Chips Deluxe, Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Rippin' Good vanilla wafers.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, injunctive relief and declaration that the case is exceptional, which would entitle Brandeis and GFA to attorney fees if it prevails. Both are represented by Quarles & Brady's Madison office, which did not return calls Friday.


We know Amanda. She's a sweetheart. The courts ruled against Brandeis and Smart Balance, but it still stings the bakery. When I wrote to Smart Balance to express my dismay, they first said they knew nothing about it. Then I posted the link and the story changed to 'oh, they just got caught up in it, and it didn't cost them much business'.

So, you took them to court, but you didn't hurt them 'much'?


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