IP disputes: Agreement between Bühler and swisca, Norwegian court finds BioMar does not infringe patent

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Duncan_Andison
© GettyImages/Duncan_Andison

Related tags IP protection patent

Bühler and swisca today announced that they have been able to settle their dispute out of court.

The background to the case was that several long-standing employees terminated their employment contracts with Bühler in February 2018 and founded the company, swisca, in September that same year.

swisca operates in the market as a competitor of Bühler in certain product segments including in feed technology applications.

Bühler claimed that due to the rapid market entry of swisca, a dispute arose between the two parties regarding the use of intellectual property (IP) and know-how by swisca.

The companies, it said, had different views on this matter and the facts of the case were subject to legal proceedings.

Bühler and swisca said they have now agreed on how to compensate the use of Bühler's IP and know-how, which enabled the rapid market entry of swisca.

The parties did not disclose the settlement details.

“Bühler and swisca look forward to fair competition after the settlement of their dispute and are convinced that this is in the interest of customers.”

Norwegian court finds in favor of BioMar in STIM patent case

A request from fish health group, STIM, to ban the sale of BioMar’s smoltification feed, Intro Tuning, has been denied by a Norwegian court, which found that BioMar’s product does not infringe STIM’s patent.

The production and sale of said BioMar feed is to continue as per normal.

STIM, the name given to the company that emerged from the June 2019 alignment between Europharma, Fishguard and ACD Pharma, submitted a request to the Norwegian courts in July, stating that BioMar should be prohibited from selling their smoltification feed Intro Tuning. According to STIM, the feed violated a new European patent that STIM had recently been granted.

The Oslo County Court held hearings in the case the first week in November. A decision was handed down by the court on December 8, concluding that BioMar's feed Intro Tuning does not infringe STIM's patent.

The decision by the Oslo Country Court can be appealed; an expiration deadline has been set on that though for the second half of January 2021.

We are very happy with the outcome of this case. The decision from the court is in accordance with the European Patent Office's (EPO) understanding of STIM's patent, and thus as expected. This decision means that fish farmers can continue to choose feed from our product portfolio that promotes growth and health during smoltification and transfer to seawater,”​ said Håvard Jørgensen, managing director, BioMar Norway.

We reported on earlier patent related developments​ between STIM and BioMar back in March.

BioMar Norway claimed then that a general known method to improve smoltification in aquaculture cannot be protected by a patent.

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