A US trade commission has upheld an initial ruling that found Chinese manufacturer Niutang did not infringe Tate & Lyle's patents for manufacturing the sweetener sucralose.

In an initial determination announced in last September, US International Trade Commission (ITC) Judge Charles Bullock rejected Tate & Lyle's infringement allegations against both Changzhou Niutang, one of the largest global manufacturers of sucralose, and its US subsidiary, US Niutang.

Licheng Wang, general manager of Changzhou Niutang, said the company was "delighted" with the fresh ruling, which has led to a "complete victory" in favour of the business.

"The commission agreed with Judge Bullock that Niutang does not infringe any of the patents asserted by Tate & Lyle," Licheng said.

Tate & Lyle said it will review the ITC's full final determination in detail and evaluate its options over any further possible legal moves through the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

"While this development is disappointing, intellectual property is just one of the many components which define Tate & Lyle's formidable competitive advantage in the global sucralose business," said Karl Kramer, president, Tate & Lyle Sucralose. "Our manufacturing facilities operate at a level of cost, efficiency and environmental stewardship surpassed by none, producing sucralose which meets the highest standards of quality, purity and hygiene."

Kramer added: "Our business is built upon long-standing relationships with some of the world's leading food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as the established Splenda brand which is renowned as a high quality, reliable and trusted product in a number of markets."

The ITC said it will now issue limited exclusion orders against certain companies that defaulted or did not participate in the investigation.