STIM expands patent rights
Friday, July 3, 2020
The European Patent Office (EPO) has expanded the patent rights held by STIM for their smoltification feed SuperSmolt FeedOnly. The EPO’s decision expands the range of feed ingredients that falls within patent protection so that existing feeds imitating SuperSmolt FeedOnly now constitute infringements on the patent. Further, EPO decided that the practical use of such feeds in itself is considered a breach of patent. This comes in the wake of STIM´s victory against BioMar in Oslo District Court in March of this year.
“SuperSmolt FeedOnly has unique qualities, so we can understand that others might be tempted to look to our solutions, but we are happy that both the court system as well as EPO concludes that these rights belong to us. I truly hope and believe that we no longer need to spend our time and resources to defend that. The decision by EPO is a victory for everyone that believes in the importance of research and development,” said STIM CEO, Jim-Roger Nordly.
Since its 2014 launch, SuperSmolt FeedOnly has contributed to significantly reducing post-transfer mortality and at the same time increasing profits for salmon producers. The key is its ability to synchronize smoltification so that every fish achieves robust seawater tolerance before transfer. Compared to traditional photoperiod smoltification, SuperSmolt was a game-changer in terms of both fish welfare and profitability. The first patent application regarding SuperSmolt FeedOnly was delivered in 2014 and the first granting from EPO came in 2019.
The EPO decision has been prefaced by a long-time patent dispute between STIM and competing feed companies. So far, STIM has taken one of these companies to court. In March, Oslo District Court ruled that the company had to compensate STIM for selling a copy feed as well as breaching the business code of conduct. The judgment has been appealed.
STIM´s rights were again challenged in 2017 when competing feed producers made minor adjustments to the SuperSmolt Feed Only formulation before selling their feed. These adjustments were covered by an additional patent application from STIM, which has now been validated by EPO.
“We are pleased with the EPO decision, which makes it clear that our competitors cannot continue to make minimal feed formulation adjustments to escape the patent issue. We believe the EPO decision will finally resolve the disagreements between STIM and our competitors,” said Nordly.
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