SuperSmolt wins double patent victory
Pharma and nutrition company STIM (formerly Europharma) has won a double victory in its fight to protect its patented SuperSmolt technology.
A ruling by the European Patent Office (EPO) yesterday expands the patent rights held by STIM for its feed SuperSmolt FeedOnly, which improves the consistency of smoltification under constant light.
The decision means that more feed ingredients will be given patent protection, so that existing feeds imitating SuperSmolt FeedOnly now constitute infringements on the patent.
Also, the EPO decided that the practical use of such feeds in itself is considered a breach of patent.
The decision follows a long running battle between STIM and competing feed producers, who have produced their own smoltification products.
In March this year, Oslo District Court ruled that BioMar had copied SuperSmolt FeedOnly and sold the copy feed under the name Intro Tuning, and had breached Norway’s Marketing Act in the process. BioMar was ordered to pay NOK 16.5 million in compensation, plus costs.
The feed giant vowed to appeal the decision, saying: ‘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.’
STIM CEO Jim-Roger Nordly said yesterday: ‘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.
‘We believe the EPO decision will finally resolve the disagreements between STIM and our competitors.’
He added: ‘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 in order to defend that. The decision by EPO is a victory for everyone that believes in the importance of research and development.’
STIM said the key to the success of SuperSmolt FeedOnly, launched in 2014, is its ability to synchronise smoltification so that every fish achieves robust seawater tolerance before transfer.
Compared to traditional photo period smoltification, SuperSmolt was a true ‘game-changer’ in terms of both fish welfare and profitability, said the company.
The first patent application regarding SuperSmolt FeedOnly was delivered in 2014 and the first granting from the EPO came in 2019.