THE Fish Vet Group and Benchmark Animal Health have lost a three-year battle in the Norwegian courts against the aquaculture company Neptune Pharma.
The Norwegian Court of Appeal rejected claims that Neptune executives exploited trade secrets involving a sea lice treatment used by the global salmon industry.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the January 2016 decision of an Oslo District Court to dismiss the Fish Vet Group and Benchmark’s case.
Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye claimed that Neptune directors Victor and Adrian Endacott stole intellectual property relating to the Fish Vet Group’s sea lice control product Salmosan.
The court heard that Victor and Adrian Endacott provided consultancy services to Pye for a period in the 2000s.
In 2014, Neptune launched an azamethiphos based sea lice treatment, Trident Vet (now Azasure Vet) – a rival to Salmosan. Pye alleged that Neptune unlawfully exploited trade secrets gleaned while advising the Benchmark CEO.
The Court of Appeal dismissed Pye’s claim, indicating that Neptune was not involved in any violation or abuse of corporate secrets. In dismissing the case, the court ruled that the development of Trident Vet must be seen as a result of Neptune’s own development work.
The Court of Appeal also dismissed the company’s demand that Neptune be liable to pay 120 million NOK. Instead the court ordered that Benchmark and the Fish Vet Group jointly pay Neptune 1.6 million NOK. Separately, the Fish Vet Group was ordered to pay Neptune 200,000 NOK in costs.