Ruyan hails FDA e-cig warnings as good news

Ruyan hails FDA e-cig warnings as good news in their fight against ‘copycats’ As reported by China Daily, the e-cig manufacturer Ruyan has praised the FDA for confiscating the shipments of two large rival e-cig distributors in the USA (Njoy and Smoking Anywhere) and hailed the regulatory agency for issuing warnings about their product as good news in its fight against copycats.

Scott Fraser, vice president of Ruyan Group said the announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will help Ruyan protect its intellectual property rights to its e-cigarette brand.

The FDA on July 22 reported that a laboratory test of e-cigarette samples found that they contained carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze.

Fraser said he was not surprised at the FDA’s findings, and that he encouraged the FDA to test his company’s e-cigarettes.

“The FDA is doing its job. They are concerned about consumer safety, and we support that,” Fraser said.

“As the inventor, we also consider the safety of customers the top issue, and we are always testing our product,” he said. “We understand the test results (of the other brands). The two copycats infringed on intellectual property. It is not surprising.”Don’t shout too loudly Ruyan! You might get what you want.

Ruyan are bristling their shoulders while balancing on a thread in my opinion. If they FDA wanted to find carcinogens in Ruyan’s cartridges they wouldn’t have to work very hard. Murray Laugesen, the New Zealand doctor put in charge of testing Ruyan’s liquid has already reported that Tobacco-specific nitrosamines are to be found in Ruyan’s cartridges, unavoidable as the nicotine and flavorings are extracted from tobacco plants which contain them.

The key point is (which the FDA glossed over), they are present in such trace amounts they are not a cause for concern. As Dr Laugesen outlines in his report similar TSNs are also found in traditional pharmaceutical grade NRTs. Many in the e-cig community have accused the FDA of scaremongering as means to drum up support for their actions and slant a judge’s decision in their favor.

Stay up to date with all the electronic cigarette news on Vapors Digest blog.

More libellous copycat accusations?

And what is Ruyan making copycat accusations for? Today’s news report mentioned that NJOY has been named in an IPR lawsuit initiated by Ruyan Group. Well, the only trial I am aware of involving Njoy and Ruyan is the one initiated by Njoy against Ruyan accusing Ruyan of flagrantly telling distributors the Njoy product was a “black market” version of their original product. The case was settled out of court as far as I am aware and a quiet victory attributed to Njoy.

It was not the last time Ruyan told porky pies. Earlier this year, Ruyan issued a press release claiming they had asserted patent rights to the e-cigarette in a key China court ruling and that a rival manufacturer, Cixi E-cig, had been ordered to destroy it’s entire inventory and cease trading. Having just made an order with Cixi E-cig at the time of the press release, I nervously wrote to them and asked them if they thought my order would be shipped in light of these events. The response I received:

Where did you read that we will destroy all our inventory? That’s a terrible, big lie!!!

Apparently Ruyan had been grossly exaggerating. Yes a court had ruled Cixi E-cig had infringed on one of Ruyan’s patents with one product, most likely a clone of the reusable cigar commonly known as the Ruyan Bling, but they had not been requested to destroy their inventory or cease trading. In fact, the court found that the technology used in the rest of Cixi E-cig’s products did not infringe on Ruyan’s patents at all. Furthermore, after the case, both parties agreed not to make any announcements of the case which misrepresented the court decision for business purposes, something which Cixi E-cig now called Ruyan selfish for violating.

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The patent issue and atomizer technology

Honest information about patents relating to electronic cigarettes is difficult to find. I have requested details about Ruyan’s patents from Ruyan on more than one occasion and have received nothing but silence on the issue. As far as I can make out, Ruyan do hold a patent for a electronic cigarette device but the patent lists a technology that is different to that used by Rival “copycat” factories. Ruyan’s V8 atomizer is composed of a piezoelectric ceramic element. This element atomizes the liquid into a vapor via an ultrasonic method. Heat can be a byproduct of the vaporization process but it is not the process by which the liquid in a V8 is vaporised.

None of the Atomizers manufactured by rival companies use ultrasonic technology. All of them use coiled nichrome wire to directly heat the liquid into a vapor. This is a cheaper solution and seems to work much more efficiently. In fact later products designed by Ruyan incorporate a nichrome wire atomizer in place of the piezoelectric element.

Janty Vs PartySmoker

It is my opinion that electronic cigarettes using the nichrome wire atomizer are unpatentable as far as the technology is concerned but the appearance of any product is patent-able to some degree and this is how Ruyan were able to bring Cixi E-cig to trial. One of their products infringed on Ruyan’s appearance patent. I would love to be corrected though.

Njoy have tried to patent an e-cigarette device in the USA but I think this is largely a posturing charade, an attempt to win support from pharmaceutical distributors and no patent will ever be granted. In Deceber 2008, Janty tried, through a judge ruling, to stop a rival Dutch e-cig supplier, PartySmoker, from selling a product which they said was too similar to their Kissbox model. A judge rejected the request and discounted the plausibility of any copyright infringement. If Ruyan decide to waste million on similar cases, I’m almost certain they will be similarly rejected.