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Biomar to compensate STIM for patent infringements

A Norwegian court ordered BioMar to compensate STIM (formerly Europharma) for patent infringement and breaching the business code of conduct. The company faces a total bill in excess of NOK 23 million after the Oslo District Court ruled that both patents protecting the SuperSmolt technology are fully valid.

Biomar to compensate STIM for patent infringements

February 26, 2020

A Norwegian court ordered BioMar to compensate STIM (formerly Europharma) for patent infringement and breaching the business code of conduct. The company faces a total bill in excess of NOK 23 million after the Oslo District Court ruled that both patents protecting the SuperSmolt technology are fully valid.

“We are pleased that the court found in favor of STIM on all the key points of the case. It is a thorough and well worked out decision that explicitly states the innovative value of the original SuperSmolt patent as well as the SuperSmolt FeedOnly patent,” said Jim-Roger Nordly, CEO of the patent holder STIM.

BioMar was found guilty of patent infringement by copying SuperSmolt FeedOnly and selling its copy feed under the name Intro Tuning. Because of this, the company must pay for damages to STIM in the amount of NOK 10 million.

Biomar’s course of action was examined during the court’s hearing regarding complaints of infringements on the Norwegian Marketing Act, which included accusations of misleading marketing as well as breaches on the business code of conduct. Oslo District Court found the accusations to be valid and again BioMar must pay NOK 6,5 million in compensation.

“Not until the product was a success and STIM had built interest in the market, did BioMar obtain a sample of STIM’s feed, in a way that the company have not been willing to explain the details of in court. It has, however, come to light that this sample was analyzed by BioMar in order to produce an analogous product, allegedly at the request of customers. Through the examination of evidence, the courts find that this course of action is clearly not accepted in the industry and appear clearly blameworthy,” the court stated.

The patent process regarding the SuperSmolt technology is not yet completed. The European Patent Organization (EPO) is currently considering additional applications that will further expand the SuperSmolt FeedOnly patent within the full patent description filed in 2014. The precursor to SuperSmolt FeedOnly was originally developed as a result of new discoveries relating to so-called Calcium Sensing Receptors in humans. American scientists understood that stimulating the same receptors in fish may lead to smoltification. STIM (previously Europharma) bought the rights to the original SuperSmolt patent in 2008 and developed it further into SuperSmolt FeedOnly that was launched in 2014.

The technology has, to a large extent, solved one of salmon farming’s biggest challenges, namely mortality and poor growth after sea transfer because of sub-optimal smoltification. SuperSmolt FeedOnly allows the fish to smoltify under constant light and without the threat of desmoltification. Its ability to synchronize the smoltification so that every fish has good seawater tolerance at the time of transfer has had a big impact on fish welfare, survival and growth performance.

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