Benchmark lost Salmosan appeal, but defendant reeling

Ole Alexander Saue

Neptune Pharma has been cleared of wrongdoing by an appeals court in Oslo. Company director Adrian Endacott describes the case as harassment and had no kind words for plaintiffs Benchmark and Fish Vet Group, or FVG.

It was March 3rd, 2016, when Neptune Pharma and Europharma were cleared by Oslo District Court, after Benchmark had accused the former of exploiting confidential information about its product Salmosan, a sea lice treatment, and its production by Azasure Vet (formerly Trident Vet).

Three-year battle
After that, the Sheffield-based Benchmark appealed to The Court of Appeal, but on Dec. 20th, 2017, a judge dismissed Benchmark’s appeal and ordered the company to pay NOK 1.8 million in legal fees to Neptune Pharma. The case had gone on for three years.

When Benchmark appealed, they said the District Court ruling had fallen short and contained errors. They also raised the question of whether the events in question should have been judged by English or Norwegian law (although both are grounded in Common Law).

Neptune director Andrian Endacott was quoted by The Fish Site as saying the following:

“For 40 months, FVG and Benchmark have used the Norwegian legal system as a tool to harass me, my father and my companies. We’ve been entirely exonerated of the false allegations of theft of trade secrets made by FVG and Benchmark. Both an Oslo District Court and the Norwegian Court of Appeal have found entirely in our favour.

“The financial damage Benchmark and FVG have caused Neptune with this false action over the last 40 months is estimated to be above NOK 200 million (EUR 20.8 million). As well as financial damage, there is a human side to this case. The case has placed a heavy burden on my family that no-one should have to go through. I can never forgive that.

Malcom Pye, CEO of Benchmark

Endacott said the court victories were not the end, and that the company intends to bring suit until it is compensated for the lost business resulting from the freeze on sales.

Benchmark’s response
Benchmark for its part released a statement saying it brought suit against Neptune over industrial secrets and business practices.

“Benchmark welcomes the introduction of new products and services on the market and fair competition. The company has a duty to support business conducted with integrity and reserves its rights to pursue any legal action it deems necessary in order to protect its intellectual property.”



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