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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Friday, May 16, 2014 8 years ago

ALPS South restarts R&D

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After winning a decade-long patent infringement case, the St. Pete company plans to kick-start its development of new products.

ST. PETERSBURG — High-tech manufacturing company ALPS South announced it has resumed its research and development efforts after winning a precedent-setting $15.5 million judgment in a patent infringement case earlier this year. The St. Petersburg-based company, which designs and manufactures prosthetic liners, says it has several new products under development, including a device inserted into a prosthesis that communicates through a smart phone app to create a better fit and an interface that picks up neural signals to help amputees intuitively control their prostheses.

The company demonstrated several of its products on Tuesday at an event at its headquarters. Those products include WintersGel, the liner used to help the famous injured dolphin Winter swim with a prosthetic tail; a semi-automatic revolver and an oxygen-injected engine that increases a car's horsepower. It also showed a prosthetic foot, improved sleep apnea masks, and a silicone mask that helps patients recover more quickly after facial surgery.

The presentation marked a resurgence for the company's product development since the company put R&D largely on hold during the nearly decade long patent-infringement case brought by competitor The Ohio Willow Wood Co. The company charged ALPS South with violating a patent on cushioning devices that go over the residual stumps of amputated limbs. ALPS South's attorney Ron Christaldi of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP argued “inequitable conduct” in an attempt to show that the competitor had fraudulently obtained the patents it was suing over. ALPS received an award for $15.5 million plus attorneys' fees.

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