ITC grants ClearCorrect's motion to stay orders

As you may have heard, it was announced yesterday that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) stayed the cease and desist orders that were issued against us in the patent infringement action filed by Align Technology, Inc.

The ITC found that the equities of the case required that the status quo be maintained until the appeal is decided. As such, there will be no disruption to ClearCorrect's business operations during the appeal. 

The ITC’s ruling came shortly after the ITC was notified of recent developments in a case in Germany. In the German case, Align sued a competitor for patent infringement.  In that case, several of Align’s patents were recently found by the German court to be invalid.  One of the patents at issue in the German case is the European equivalent of one of the key patents at issue in Align’s action against ClearCorrect.

In summation, it's business as usual at ClearCorrect... and we look forward to continuing to service our providers.

New labels & improved paperwork

We've got a couple of cool changes to announce today.

Easier organization

First, we're making it easer to organize aligner boxes in your office. Starting this week, we'll be including a label inside each box with the patient's name and case information. Stick it on the side of the box, and you'll be able to identify all the phases on your shelf at a glance—no Sharpie required.

This label also includes a timeline, which might look a little different than what you're used to. That brings us to our second announcement: new treatment plans.

The new paperwork has a few benefits:

Simpler presentation

We used to fold the treatment plans in half, and we've been folding them in quarters ever since we shrank our packaging. Now we're taking advantage of that—the new treatment plans read like a booklet, with one page for each appointment's instructions.

We've removed all of the visual clutter and simplified our instructions. The results are clear and easy to read.

Accurate details

Despite the clean appearance, all the details you need are still there. Tooth charts represent the combined movement in both of the steps you dispense at each appointment. Missing teeth and untreated arches are removed from the chart. You can see all of the IPR, engagers, and Compliance Checkpoints planned for the case on the simplified timeline, which is now organized by steps instead of phases. (You got a sneak peek at a similar format on the new treatment setups).

Ready for anything

Perhaps most importantly, the new design is flexible enough to accommodate any new options we might want to add in the future. In fact, there's one improvement in particular that we plan to tell you more about very soon. Stay tuned…

Connecting to ClearCorrect on the 3Shape TRIOS® scanner

An intraoral scanner is an invaluable tool that delivers a high quality image of a patient's dentition, and allows its user to bypass the wait time of submitting PVS impressions through the mail. The sales and use of these scanners is rapidly growing thanks to the convenience and precision they offer. Although learning a new system might seem intimidating, we're here to help. If you're looking into the Trios scanner by 3Shape, here are the directions you'll need to submit your patient data to ClearCorrect and get them on the road to aligner treatment as quickly as possible.

Getting Connected

Please make sure you have already created and activated your 3Shape Communicate account at https://us.3shapecommunicate.com.

1. Click “Connections” at the top of the page.

CTCC-13

 

2. Search by entering "triosscans@clearcorrect.com" and then click "find".

CTCC2

3. In the search results, select “ClearCorrect”.

CTCC3

4. After reading the confidentiality agreement, select “I Agree” and then “Connect”.

CTCC4

5. ClearCorrect will accept your connection. This can take up to 24 hours. Once it's been accepted, go to (Configure > Lab Connections > Refresh). ClearCorrect will appear as a lab you can connect to.

CTCC5

Filling out the order form

6. Select ClearCorrect as lab. To get through this preparation phase, you'll need to choose an example tooth. It can be any tooth you'd like. For now, we're just trying to get through this stage of the process so we can get to scanning.

CTCC6

7. Scan the upper arch, the lower arch, and the bite. Try to get at least 2-3 mm of gingival area without distortion or gaps. Remember: good, clean scans produce better aligners.

CTCC7-3_NEW 

8. Complete the post process by clicking the "Post Process" button on the lower right hand side of the screen. This configures the files and prepares them to be sent to ClearCorrect.

CTCC8_NEW

9. You're ready to send the case! Click "send order" at the bottom of the screen to complete the process.

CCTC9

After you've submitted your scans through 3Shape Communicate, you'll still need to submit your case on ClearComm before we can get started on making your aligners. Make sure to submit the case immediately after sending your scans so we can pair them together. When prompted, choose "TRIOS scan" as the scanner of choice during the "Impressions/Scan" step.

Screen_Shot_2014-05-22_at_4.17.45_PM

Another way you can submit your case to us using the 3Shape scanner is to use the Ortho Analyzer software. Not all doctors use this software, but if you happen to have it, here's what you do:

  1. Scan the upper arch, the lower arch, and the bite as you normally would.
  2. View the scans in the Ortho Analyzer software. If you're satisfied with them, save them as .STL files. 
  3. In ClearComm, choose "other scans" during the "Impressions/Scan" step.
  4. Upload the scans you took of the upper arch and the lower arch. You do not need to upload the bite scan because it's automatically saved in both of the arch scan files.

Of course, if you prefer to send us PVS impressions, you're free to continue doing so! 

Refer a doctor; it's a win-win scenario

The quickest way to save some money on your next case is simple. Send your friends our way, and when they submit their first case, you'll each get $100 credit.

And beyond that - the doctor who refers the most new providers to us within any given month will receive a credit good for 50% off any case type!

Why choose ClearCorrect?

  • Save up to 30% over the other guys
  • Excellent customer service
  • Phase-based shipping
  • Made in the USA
  • Support for most intraoral scanners
  • No required course or sign-up fee for experienced doctors
  • Treat simple to advanced cases — for less

One last thing...

If you're looking for new ways to generate patient interest in ClearCorrect, our store has a few new items that will make it easier for you to get them asking questions. Our especially popular items include the window cling, the updated DVDClearCorrect pens, the marketing kit, and the before & after flipbook.

ClearCorrect now accepts scans from the Carestream CS 3500

Good news, everyone!

ClearCorrect is proud to announce that we now accept scans captured by the new CS 3500 intraoral scanner by Carestream Dental! It's a great new tool for doctors - the CS 3500 requires no external heater, powder or trolley system, and enables clinicians to easily capture true-color 2D and 3D images using high-angulation scanning. Practices using scans generated by the CS 3500 to create aligners for their patients benefit in that all-digital cases can be completed faster since there are no delays for shipping.

You can read about the details on Carestream's website, but our very own Anthony Penketh sums it up best when he says, "Now that our providers can submit cases to us using the CS 3500 intraoral scanner, it gives them yet another great option to go digital.”

Of course, if you prefer to send us PVS impressions, you're more than welcome to continue doing so.

Until next time...

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.

Models no longer included

model

As you probably know, we make our aligners by thermoforming Zendura plastic over 3D-printed models. Those dental models were originally just a byproduct of the manufacturing process, but since we started including them in the box several years ago, dentists have found ways to make them useful—mostly by tracking their patient's progress and making replacement aligners in their office. So it's with some regret that we announce that we will no longer be shipping dental models with our aligners. Our improved manufacturing processes have increased the quality of our aligners, but they've also been harder on our models. A new upgrade to our laser trimmer is about to make the aligners more comfortable and durable, but it will also render the models unusable by blasting through the surface. The quality and consistency of the dental models are no longer up to our standards, and we won't ship anything we can't stand behind.

Easy replacements

Fortunately, this change won't affect most of you. Surveys indicate that most doctors rarely or never used the models. If an aligner breaks, you can advance to the next step early, or you can call us at (888) 331-3323 to request a replacement. We'll manufacture all replacements in 48 hours or less, guaranteed. The Limited 12 treatment option includes up to two replacement aligners, and the Unlimited option includes replacements for any aligner. (If you want to retain your patient's teeth in the meantime, you can always pour up a model from impressions and create a temporary retainer from that.)

Every step in the setup

treatment_setup-1

If you used the models to track your patient's progress, our new treatment setup should do an even better job of filling that role. Coming early this year, the new setup will include detailed 3D models of every step of treatment, with clearly delineated teeth and gums. Fortunately, there are some advantages to eliminating models. We'll be able to streamline our packaging to take up less shelf space in your office, and the decrease in size & weight means we'll be able to bundle shipments for doctors who have multiple active cases. We know some of you will be sad to see the models go, but we're confident these changes will result in a better product overall. Thanks for your understanding. Until next time...

Meet our new Chief Technology Officer

In related news, we're thrilled to welcome one of the authors of the previously-referenced trimming study, Dr. James Mah, as our new Chief Technology Officer. He’ll be helping us develop improved treatment protocols, training resources, and all-new products.

Dr. James MahDr. James Mah is a practicing orthodontist as well as a clinical professor and the program director in Orthodontics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has pioneered research and developments in 3-D imaging and modeling in orthodontics for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment planning and therapeutics as well as anthropology and forensics. He is involved in the research and development of 3-D facial imaging devices, intra-oral scanners, CAD/CAM applications in dentistry and cone-beam CT scanners.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science, Doctorate of Dental Surgery, Master of Science degrees and his Certificate of Specialization in Orthodontics from the University of Alberta, Canada. He then graduated from Harvard Medical School with a Doctorate of Medical Science degree and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital, Boston. He was a full-time faculty member in the Department of Orthodontics at Harvard School of Dental Medicine prior to his current positions. Dr. Mah has authored over 100 publications, four textbooks, many book chapters, several patents and has made numerous presentations nationally and internationally.

As a recognized expert in 3-D imaging, visualization and modeling, his work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The National Post, Tech TV, and other magazines and journals. His research laboratory is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research National Science Foundation McAlister Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation, Sun Microsystems, and a number of industry partners. He is also a founder of the Conferences on Orthodontic Advances in Science and Technology and an organizer of the Biological Mechanisms of Tooth Movement conference series. He serves as an editor for the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics and is a reviewer for the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics, Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, Korean Orthodontic Journal, the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, & Endodontics and Dentomaxillofacial Radiology.

ClearCorrect is moving

WE'RE MOVING TO ROUND ROCK

Office will be closed August 30 - September 2

As we mentioned earlier, we’ll be relocating this weekend from Houston to a shiny new lab facility in Round Rock, Texas (just north of Austin).

Our new address is:

21 Cypress Blvd
Suite 1010
Round Rock, TX 78665

Our phone number remains the same: (888) 331-3323.

Any shipping labels generated by ClearComm will use the new address from now on. If you have any old unused labels sitting around, now's a good time to toss them. We'll still get shipments sent to the old address for a little while, but it'll take longer for us to receive them.

Our office will be closed from Friday, August 30 through Monday, September 2. We will be unavailable by phone or email during this time. ClearComm and our public website will also be down temporarily. While we're offline, you can check our Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates.

We plan to be back up and running as usual at 9 AM Central Time on Tuesday, September 3. Once the dust settles, we look forward to showing you around the new building.

Talk to you again after the move!

Van driving between Houston and Austin

More on CEREC

We announced last week that we now accept intraoral scans from CEREC scanners. As you know, the CEREC software wasn't designed with full-arch orthodontic treatment in mind, so this process hasn't been validated by Sirona yet. The scans we're receiving are working great, but we do want to clarify that Sirona and Patterson Dental cannot provide official support for any issues you encounter specifically related to submitting ClearCorrect cases. The good news is that we are currently in talks with Sirona about adding official support for ClearCorrect submissions in future software updates. If you do run into trouble, please let us know, and we'll be happy to share your feedback. Thanks!