Ortho Caps invalidates two Align patents in Germany

In a victory for the free market and clear aligner companies around the world, Ortho Caps GmbH, manufacturer of Orthocaps® aligners, successfully invalidated two of Align Technology's patents.

In December 2011, Align filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ortho Caps, asserting that Ortho Caps infringed five Align patents.

In response, Ortho Caps filed two invalidity lawsuits against two of the patents in dispute before the Federal Patent Court in Germany, one of which is the European equivalent of the '325 patent ClearCorrect is currently contesting. Ortho Caps also filed oppositions before the European Patent Office for the remaining three patents at issue, in which determinations are pending.

It was recently announced that the German Federal Patent Court nullified the German part of both patents at issue. In a last ditch effort to save parts of the overly broad patents, Align filed auxiliary claims during the hearing. However, the court invalidated both of the patents in their entirety.

To read more about the findings, check out Ortho Caps' press release here.

ClearCorrect case study: Dr. Julie Staggers

Check out the below case study written by ClearCorrect provider Dr. Julie Ann Staggers, DDS:

ClearCorrect Treatment of an Anterior Crossbite

Update on April 3rd ITC ruling

On April 3rd, the International Trade Commission (ITC) made its ruling in the patent infringement case Align filed against ClearCorrect. As a ClearCorrect provider, here’s what you need to know:

What was the decision?

The ITC reversed the majority of the adverse claims in ClearCorrect’s favor. Of the 7 patents and 40 claims at issue, the ITC found ClearCorrect did not infringe on 2 patents and 22 claims.

While most claims went our way, the Commission did find that we infringed 18 claims related to the digital data we receive from ClearCorrect Pakistan. As a result, the Commission issued an order to cease and desist importing that specific digital data. The order does not prevent us from continuing to make aligners.

Is it still safe to submit cases to ClearCorrect?

Yes. We will continue to make aligners for both new and existing cases. The only material restriction is on the importation of digital data that would infringe Align’s patents. While we still consider Align’s patents overly-broad and invalid, we’ve made adjustments to our process in order to comply with the ITC’s decision while we appeal it.

Will my current cases be interrupted or suspended mid-treatment?

No. The ITC has not made any ruling that would prevent us from completing any existing cases.

Well, why does Align keep saying I should be concerned?

That’s just Align being Align. They’ve been known to resort to these sorts of tactics in the past to get doctors to do what they want. This is just more of the same.

We maintain Align’s patents are overly-broad and invalid. That said—despite whatever Align represents to the contrary—the patents at issue do not cover every possible way of making aligners.

We’ve been making aligners for over seven years now. We’ve improved our process countless times along the way, and now we’ve made further adjustments to our process in anticipation of the ITC’s order.  We can continue making aligners in full compliance with the ITC for the foreseeable future.

We’re not going anywhere.

Is the ITC decision final?

No. Like most court or agency decisions, the ITC’s determination can be appealed. We will appeal this decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as soon as we’re allowed to do so.

It isn’t uncommon for decisions in one court to be overturned by another. For instance, in Align’s patent litigation with Ormco Corp., the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that key Align patents were invalid, reversing the lower District Court’s decision.

Patent litigation is a long process, even when conducted in the ITC (where things are supposed to move quickly). We’ve spent a couple years fighting our way through this case already and we expect at least another couple years before it’s ultimately decided.

Can I help invalidate Align’s patents?

Yes! Though we have mounds of prior art to support our arguments of invalidity, we’re happy to throw more on the pile. Here are the core topics and themes of the patents at issue:

  1. Making dental appliances.
  2. Thermoformed appliances.
  3. Orthodontic appliances.
  4. Using systems like 3D printers to print digital models.
  5. Treatment planning on a computer.
  6. Planning a goal for treatment before treatment begins.
  7. Digital dentistry or digital medicine.

If you know of any patents, papers, articles, documents, manuals, promotional materials, printed media of any kind, video, movies, TV programs, recorded lectures, transcripts, etc., that discussed any of the above topics or any related topics before October 1, 1996, please contact us at legal@clearcorrect.com with your name and contact info. We’d like to speak with you.

ITC Reverses Majority of Initial Determination in ClearCorrect's Favor

ClearCorrect announced today it received notice that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) reversed, in ClearCorrect's favor, the majority of the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) Initial Determination that ClearCorrect infringed 37 claims across 6 Align Technology patents. The Commission found wholly no infringement of two of the patents and no infringement of most of the remaining claims at issue.

"We're pleased that the ITC reversed the majority of the adverse findings of the ALJ's Initial Determination, and we're confident the remainder will be reversed during the appeal process," said Mike Myers, ClearCorrect legal counsel.  "The Commission conceded that the issue of whether data constitutes an 'article' within its jurisdiction was a difficult one.  This issue will obviously be decided on appeal and ClearCorrect agrees with Commissioner David Johanson that intangible data is not within the definition of 'article.'" Myers added.

Regardless of the appeal, ClearCorrect is fully prepared to comply with the ITC's order while it continues to service its customers and sell its product.

"We've spent months streamlining our process and making the necessary changes to comply with whatever the Commission might order so that it wouldn't impact our business," said Jarrett Pumphrey, ClearCorrect CEO. "We're all set to continue servicing our providers and making our product well into the future."

For more information on the history of this case, please check out the legal section of our blog.

ClearCorrect case study: Dr. Colin Gibson

Check out the below case study written by ClearCorrect provider Dr. Colin Gibson, DDS on one of his ClearCorrect cases:

ClearCorrect Correction of a Class I Impinging Deep Bite with Crowding

ClearCorrect patient review: Gerald Blackman

Dr. Thomas Watkins and his patient Gerald Blackman recently sat down with us to discuss Gerald's treatment and overall ClearCorrect experience.  

World Smile Day® 2013

Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile!

At ClearCorrect, we're in the business of making smiles, and we encourage everyone to join us and ClearCorrect Bob in our efforts today, on World Smile Day®!

World Smile Day® is celebrated on the first Friday of October every year. The very first World Smile Day® was held in 1999, and was created by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. You may know Harvey for the signature yellow smiley face he created in 1963, which went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet.  

As his signature smiley face gained popularity and recognition over the years, Harvey became increasingly concerned about it's over-commercialization. He felt his original concept had become lost in the marketplace. From his concern came the idea for World Smile Day®. He felt that everyone around the globe should devote one day a year to smiles and acts of kindness. Harvey's unmistakable smiley face knows no politics, geography, religion, or creed, and the idea behind World Smile Day® is that for at least one day each year, neither should we.

ClearCorrect patient review: Connie Hansen

Dr. Mason Jones and his patient Connie Hansen recently sat down with us to discuss Connie's treatment, results, and overall ClearCorrect experience.  

Confirming the Magic of Christmas

Our CEO, Jarrett Pumphrey, recently wrote a little something for a section of our company newsletter called Checking in with Jarrett, and in light of the Holiday Season we wanted to share his touching story with all of you.



What is your favorite and/or funniest holiday memory?

One of my most memorable Christmases happened when I was a little kid. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, right around the age you start questioning whether Santa is really the magical figure of your fondest Christmas memories or just the creepy old man at the department store whose lap you were forced to sit on year after year. I suppose I was getting old enough to spot that the details of department store Santa just weren't quite right: the fake, too-thin red suit with the plastic belt; the yellowing beard; the crooked, toothy smile; the sour breath. There was a twinkle in his eye alright, but it gave a whole different meaning to "Have you been naughty or nice?"

I decided I'd test this whole Santa thing. Either my parents had lied to me my whole short life and I'd be devastated (devastated!), or Santa was, in fact, real and his department store counterpart was just having an off season (totally plausible).

I went to my room, closed the door, and formulated my plan. I thought it was pretty clever: I'd ask Santa for something totally random but not tell my parents and definitely not tell pervy department store Santa. If Santa was real, he'd magically divine what I wanted, and I'd find it waiting for me on Christmas morning.

Brilliant! Foolproof!

I settled on my random gift wish: crayons (that's about as random as my 7- or 8-year-old self could manage). For good measure, I never spoke a word about it, and I never wrote it down. I just thought it, Santa, if you're real (please be real), bring me a box of crayons. The regular kind is fine.

On Christmas morning, my brothers and I crept downstairs to the tree without waking my parents. Waiting for us like mounds of sparkling treasure were gifts upon gifts that had magically appeared overnight. Some were wrapped (those were labeled "From Mom & Dad"), and others—the big ones, the cool ones—weren't (those were labeled "From Santa").

Immediately, all thought of disproving Santa left me. Of course Santa was real! He brought me a big pile of toys—he had to be real! I think I was high on new toy smell.

As I worked my way through my pile, finding video games, but no crayons, a race car, but no crayons, a Transformer, but no crayons, I started to come back down to Earth. I can't say I was sad—I had a big pile of toys after all—but maybe a little disappointed. Santa hadn't heard my wish. He wasn't real.

By the time we'd finished opening everything, my parents had joined the fray. As we cleaned up all the trash and wrapping paper scraps, my mom reminded us we hadn't yet checked our stockings. I pulled mine down and looked inside. There was the traditional candy cane and chocolates we got every year and then something else, something deep down at the bottom I couldn't make out. I took out the candy, reached deep into my stocking, felt around a bit, and pulled out a small yellow and green box. I flipped it over in my hand and across the front it read "Crayola".

I'm sure my mom thought I had an unhealthy appreciation for those crayons that year. Little did she know that for me, those crayons forever confirmed the magic of Christmas.

It's Movember Errbody!

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches (or Mo’s) on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, the men that participate help to raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues.

Here at ClearCorrect, men will then start off the month of Movember by shaving off any facial hair they may have. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the history of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas.

Throughout Movember, the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas of ClearCorrect will celebrate their gallantry and valor by entering a variety of weekly competitions. Follow our journey by visiting our facebook page, where updates and photos will be posted throughout the month!

Check out one of last year's winners (Carl Norberg, pictured below) and the rest of his competition here.