SOURCE: OurPet's

OPCO

February 10, 2011 08:43 ET

OurPet's Company Enters Into Settlement Agreement Concerning SmartScoop®

FAIRPORT HARBOR, OH--(Marketwire - February 10, 2011) - OurPet's Company (OTCBB: OPCO) (www.ourpets.com), a leading proprietary pet supply company today reported that all patent infringement accusations related to OurPet's Company's SmartScoop® Self Scooping Litter Box were been resolved on February 4, 2011. SmartScoop is a patented, automated self-cleaning cat litter box that offers a unique modular design for easy cleaning and maintenance using any type of clumping litter.

In 2007, Applica Consumer Products, the manufacturer of the LitterMaid™ Automatic Cat Litter Box, filed two lawsuits alleging that the SmartScoop infringed multiple claims of U.S. Patent No. RE 36,847 and U.S. Patent No. 6,082,302. As previously announced, in October 2010, in one of the lawsuits, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with OurPet's legal position that the asserted patent claims were either not violated by the SmartScoop design and operation or were invalid. In the remaining patent infringement lawsuit, OurPet's is pleased to announce that the matter now has been resolved on satisfactory terms and will be dismissed shortly.

Dr. Steve Tsengas, PhD, President and CEO of OurPet's Company, commented "We are very pleased to reach a settlement agreement concerning SmartScoop following nearly four years of litigation. During that period we successfully defended and enhanced this product, increased our overall market presence, and significantly expanded our portfolio of innovative products for cats and dogs. It is gratifying that consumer needs for quality and innovation will be served through fair and open competition. We can now accelerate implementation of our growth strategy unencumbered by the prior litigation."

Annual expenditures in the United States for cat waste and odor control, excluding cat litter, are estimated to be approximately $130 million-$160 million. Automated litter boxes are a fast growing segment of this market, representing about 50% of those expenditures or approximately $65 million to $85 million in annual sales. Cats are increasingly popular as pets, especially for owners who work outside the home or travel frequently, due to the low level of maintenance required. The American Pet Products Association has estimated that approximately 37 million cats spend most of their time indoors. Waste and odor control are major challenges especially for indoor cats and SmartScoop provides an ideal solution. SmartScoop offers a great value for the consumer based on its competitive initial price and low operating costs. 

Scott Fitzhugh, V.P. Sales & Marketing, stated "We are finalizing details for our SmartScoop re-launch, and the sales and marketing team is excited to deliver the automatic litter box solution cat owners desire. SmartScoop offers a high quality, reliable litter box that provides significant value throughout the life of the product. Today's settlement announcement coupled with significant improvements that have been made to the performance of SmartScoop will open the door to new opportunities for the company. OurPet's is focused on delivering the best experience possible in automatic litter boxes to the consumer and expanding the category revenue for all of our retail customers." 

OurPet's designs, produces and markets a broad line of innovative, high-quality accessory and consumable products in the U.S. and overseas for improving the health, safety, comfort and enjoyment of pets. Investors and customers may visit www.ourpets.com for more information about the Company and its products. The Company's Websites include: www.smartscoop.com, www.ecopurenaturals.com, www.playnsqueak.com, and www.flappydogtoys.com and www.clipnosis.com .

Certain of the matters set forth in this press release are forward-looking and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: business conditions and growth in the industry; general economic conditions; addition or loss of significant customers; the loss of key personnel; product development; competition; the re-launch of SmartScoop; risks of doing business abroad; foreign government regulations; fluctuations in foreign rates; rising costs for raw materials and the unavailability of sources of supply; the timing of orders booked; and the other risks that are described from time to time in OurPet's Company's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    OurPet's Company
    Dr. Steven Tsengas
    CEO
    (440) 354-6500 (Ext. 111)

    INVESTOR RELATIONS:
    Robert A. Lentz and Associates, Inc.
    Robert Lentz
    (614) 876-2000