On Friday, the European Patent Office (EPO) significantly expanded the patent rights held by feed producer STIM for their smoltification feed SuperSmolt FeedOnly.

The decision follows "continued attacks by competing feed producers," the company said.

The strengthened rights expand the range of feed ingredients that fall within patent protection, so that existing feeds imitating SuperSmolt FeedOnly now constitutes infringements on the patent.

Furthermore, the EPO decided the practical use of such feeds in itself is considered a breach of patent.

This comes in the wake of STIM´s victory against feed giant BioMar in Oslo District Court in March of this year.

The court found BioMar guilty of patent infringement related to its product Intro Tuning, ruling it was a copy of STIM's SuperSmolt FeedOnly.

"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," said STIM CEO Jim-Roger Nordly.

"I truly hope and believe that we no longer need to spend our time and resources in order to defend that."

The first patent application regarding SuperSmolt FeedOnly was delivered in 2014 and the first granting from EPO came in 2019.

The recent 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, BioMar, 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 judgement 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 in order to escape the patent issue," said Nordly.

"We believe the EPO decision will finally resolve the disagreements between STIM and our competitors."