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According to Opurity, Feds Put U.S. Consumers at Risk: PTO Bureaucrats Refuse to Approve Vitamin Company's 'China-Free' Trademark
Date:10/19/2010

STERLING, Va., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In an astounding case of callous disregard for U.S. consumers, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has denied registration of the trademark "China-Free"* submitted by the manufacturer of Opurity vitamins, who simply wishes to provide customers with an informed choice for obtaining vitamins containing no ingredients from China.

Trademark registration was refused because it was deemed to be "disparaging" to China and promoted a "stereotype that all Chinese manufacturers make poor quality goods."

"The PTO made a subjective and arbitrary decision in denying our trademark," said Jerome Krachenfels, executive vice president of ProSynthesis Laboratories, Inc. owner of Opurity Vitamins.  "We're not saying that all products from China are shoddy, but there are numerous recent examples of contaminated, counterfeit, adulterated and dangerous products coming from China."  The problem is serious enough that FDA head Margaret Hamburg traveled to China last month to address the safety of goods coming into the U.S.

"So we want to establish via a trademark that none of the ingredients in our vitamins are from China," Mr. Krachenfels said.  "Consumers should have the best opportunity to understand what they're buying for a product as critical to health as vitamins."  In an IBM survey last year, 75 percent of consumers clearly expressed a desire to know the origin of their food. 

Even in its decision, the PTO admitted that "recent newsworthy events have highlighted that [some] Chinese manufacturers do not make quality products..."   The ruling was that much more of a surprise as the PTO's initial notice had indicated registration was unobjectionable other than asking for a technical correction to the application.  According to Opurity's attorney, the spontaneous rescission was highly unusual, smacking of some type of extraordinary intervention at a higher level.

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SOURCE Opurity
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