STIM wins another patent victory for its smoltification feed
Norwegian feed producer STIM announced that it has achieved another success in terms of patenting its feed SuperSmolt FeedOnly as the European Patent Office (EPO) has expanded the company’s patent rights for the feed.
The decision by the EPO expands the range of feed ingredients that fall within patent protection. That means that other feeds, which STIM claims imitate SuperSmolt FeedOnly – a patented product that induces smoltification in salmon – now constitute infringements on STIM’s patent.
“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,” STIM CEO Jim-Roger Nordly said in a release. “I truly hope and believe that we no longer need to spend our time and resources in order to defend that. The decision by EPO is a victory for everyone that believes in the importance of research and development.”
The latest decision is just one in a series of patent-related disputes that STIM has been involved with. One dispute resulted in a lawsuit against BioMar, which was appealed by BioMar on 10 March after the company faced a NOK 23 million (USD 2.4 million, EUR 2.1 million) fine, and BioMar was also ordered to compensate STIM.
BioMar states the appeal is for the general benefit of the industry, and that the company believes smoltification cannot be protected by patent.
“BioMar Norway truly believes that a generally-known method to improve smoltification in aquaculture cannot be protected by a patent. As an important contributor to innovation in the industry and a company with a strong record of developing patented technology, we fully respect intellectual property rights,” BioMar Norway Managing Director Håvard Jørgensen said in a release during the appeal of the lawsuit. “We, however, believe that in this case, we have not infringed any valid patent as the fundamental knowledge existed both internally in BioMar and within the industry prior to the filing of the STIM patent in question. We have continued to develop an approach to aid the smoltification process and by our innovations contributed with new feeds and technology to improve both cost-efficiency and biological impact.”
The latest EPO decision covers minor adjustments to feed formulations of the “SuperSmolt Feed Only formulation,” according to STIM, which would prevent competitors from imitating the product by changing small details.
“We are pleased with the EPO decision, which makes it clear that our competitors cannot continue to make minimal feed formulation adjustments in order to escape the patent issue,” Nordly said. “We believe the EPO decision will finally resolve the disagreements between STIM and our competitors.”
BioMar has declined to comment on the EPO decision.