SOURCE: OurPet's

OPCO

October 07, 2010 08:49 ET

United States Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of OurPet's Company

FAIRPORT HARBOR, OH--(Marketwire - October 7, 2010) - OurPet's Company (OTCBB: OPCO) (www.ourpets.com), a leading proprietary pet supply company today reported that on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Court") issued its decision in favor of OurPet's Company and its SmartScoop™ Self Scooping Litter Box. The Court's decision reverses the ITC Commission's determination of a violation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and vacated the corresponding exclusion orders and cease and desist orders previously issued in favor of Applica Consumer Products, Inc. ("Applica") in 2009.

Dr. Steve Tsengas, President and CEO of OurPet's Company, stated, "We are very pleased with the U.S. Court of Appeals decision, which also reinforces our belief that the legal system ultimately works and justice prevails. During the last three years we have spent millions of dollars on litigation expenses as well as extensive managerial resources and have been constrained from a full market launch of the SmartScoop ™ product in our key sales channels. This decision vindicates our belief that this product is uniquely different and that we did not infringe any competitor patents. We look forward to accelerating our plans to aggressively expand the introduction of this product early next year."

The SmartScoop™ was granted a patent (U.S. 7,628,118 B1) from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December 2009. Patents have been filed and are pending in all overseas major markets.

Applica, the manufacturer of the LitterMaid™ Automatic Cat Litter Box, filed a law suit with the ITC in 2007 alleging that SmartScoop™ infringed eight claims of the LitterMaid™ Patent No. RE 36,847 ("847 patent"). The ITC Commission previously dismissed seven of the claims in 2009 but granted one remaining claim, issuing exclusion orders and cease and desist orders related to this claim. OurPet's felt that ITC Commission "erred" in its decision and filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Oral presentations were made before the Court on September 13, 2010. After hearing arguments by all parties, the Court agreed with OurPet's and reversed the ITC Commission's decision and vacated the exclusion order.

Based on customer feedback and further engineering development, an improved version of the SmartScoop™ will be released during the 2011 first quarter. SmartScoop™ provides exceptional reliability, smooth/quiet operation, modular design for easier cleaning and maintenance, uses any type of clumping litter and is economical to purchase and operate due to its "No Touch" inexpensive plastic bag system. The annual market for automated cat litter boxes is currently estimated to be approximately $65-85 million. Furthermore, it estimated that there are 93 million cats in the United States, which offers a tremendous growth opportunity for the SmartScoop™ within OurPet's Company's growing product portfolio.

About OurPet's Company
OurPet's designs, produces and markets a broad line of innovative, high-quality accessory and consumable pet products in the U.S. and overseas. 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.

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; product introduction plans, addition or loss of significant customers; the loss of key personnel; product development; competition; 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 SEC reports.

Contact Information

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

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