Ohio Willow Wood Co. v. ALPS South, LLC, No. 12-1642 (Fed. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
OWW owns related patents directed to cushioning devices that fit over the residual stumps of amputated limbs to make the use of prosthetics more comfortable. Some of the patents have been asserted in patent infringement suits and many have been involved in reexamination proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Office. OWW sued Alps for infringement of the 237 patent, entitled “Gel and Cushioning Devices,” lists Kania as the sole inventor and has an application date of 1996. The district court issued its claim construction order. Alps subsequently initiated the first of two consecutive ex parte reexaminations of the 237 patent. After a stay was lifted, the district court granted summary judgment to Alps, finding certain claims invalid due to the collateral estoppel effect of parallel litigation and other claims invalid for obviousness. The district court also granted OWW summary judgment of no inequitable conduct. The Federal Circuit affirmed on the issues of collateral estoppel and obviousness, but reversed and remanded on the issue of inequitable conduct. Issues of material fact regarding whether OWW committed inequitable conduct during the reexamination proceedings by withholding information preclude summary judgment.