ITC ruling will not affect ClearCorrect's products or service

ClearCorrect's US operation remains unrestricted; Align Technology's litigious campaign remains unsuccessful

ClearCorrect, LLC announced today that it received notice of an initial determination in the patent infringement complaint filed by Align Technology, Inc. with the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

Align's complaint, filed in March 2012, alleged that ClearCorrect and ClearCorrect Pakistan (Private) Ltd. ("ClearCorrect Pakistan") infringed claims of seven Align patents and sought to have ClearCorrect excluded from the US market. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Rogers' initial determination presents his opinion that ClearCorrect did not infringe any of Align's product claims, but that Align's method claims (those claims concerning the way a certain process is performed) were infringed. The ALJ's opinion will be one of the factors that the ITC will take under consideration when making its final ruling, expected in September 2013. In Align's previous ITC complaint against ClearCorrect, the ITC decided to reverse ALJ Rogers' initial determination and found no wrongdoing by ClearCorrect.

"We view the preliminary ruling on the product claims as a big win and look forward to the Commission's review of the method claims," said Jarrett Pumphrey, ClearCorrect CEO. Indeed, the ITC's own staff attorneys have interpreted US patent law to mean that ClearCorrect does not infringe most of Align's method claims and ClearCorrect will present that interpretation when it asks the Commissioners to find no infringement of any of Align's patents. "We're hopeful the Commission will view the law as both we and their staff attorneys do," continued Pumphrey, "but even if the Commission upholds the Judge's recommendation in full, it won't have any material impact on our company or our ability to make aligners. That's what counts." In fact, ClearCorrect recently invested in increasing the production capacity of its US-based manufacturing facility by another 30%. "Business has been good lately," Pumphrey added, "and we're happy we can continue servicing our doctors who have all been so supportive."

The notice of the initial determination did not include the recommended remedy. However, the worst-case scenario for ClearCorrect would simply be the exclusion of computer data prepared by ClearCorrect Pakistan. Because ClearCorrect manufactures its aligners in the US, there are no aligner imports for the ITC to block. Though only last month Align boasted "ClearCorrect [would] be excluded from the domestic market," the reality is ClearCorrect is still allowed to service its customers in the US and will continue to do so. The preliminary decision thus falls squarely in line with Align's other failed efforts to prevent competition through litigation. Align's highly-publicized case against Ormco Corporation resulted in the invalidation of Align's patent claims and a settlement that paid Ormco tens of millions of dollars, including 10% of Align's stock. Align's first ITC case against ClearCorrect resulted in complete victory for ClearCorrect. And now Align's second ITC case has failed to prevent ClearCorrect from competing in the US market.

"ClearCorrect fully intends to press the investigation further and ask the Commission to find that Align's patents are invalid because of the vast amount of prior art," said Mike Myers, ClearCorrect's legal counsel. "ClearCorrect has always held that orthodontists taught Align about clear aligners, not the other way around, and, if necessary, ClearCorrect will pursue its arguments all the way up to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that held Align's patents invalid in the Ormco case."

PDF
Notice Regarding Initial Determination on Violation of Section 337 and Recommended Determination on Remedy and Bond

Complete case history now on ClearComm

Two years ago, we launched ClearComm at dr.clearcorrect.com. We started with treatment setups and added new features over time, like case tracking, online submission, documents & forms, a wiki, and an online store.

Today, we're launching our biggest update yet: a fresh new case view including the status and complete history of every case you've ever submitted to ClearCorrect.

Updated case list

The changes start with an updated case list. Your cases are now sorted into three groups for easy access:

This is what you'll see as soon as you log in. The action needed list shows all your cases that need your attention before they can continue. This includes treatment setups that are ready for viewing, cases on hold, incomplete submissions, and cases that are missing impressions or photos.

The in progress list includes all your other active cases. It shows the next scheduled phase (or lets you knwo it's time to request a final retainer). 

Finally, the closed list is an archive of all your completed and canceled cases. It's there when you need it, out of the way when you don't.

New case view

Here's where it gets really cool. Click any row in the case list to open the brand-new case view. This is a complete timeline of everything that's happened in each case, and what's coming up next.

Newer cases include clickable thumbnails of photos, x-rays, submission forms, treatment setups, and even your impressions.

This new case view is where you'll go to approve treatment setups:

And to resume or cancel incomplete online submissions:

If you need to send us materials, we'll let you know here:

And, when everything's on track, you'll be able to see the current status of the next upcoming phase:

As items at the top of the page get completed, they move into the history.

But wait -- there's more...

We've also re-organized the sidebar to prioritize access to the most important links. Logos, documents, and forms have been moved to the wiki, and we've added a link to troubleshooting tips.

If you run into trouble, now your account rep's name & contact information is inculded right in the sidebar. Please don't hesitate to call or email us.

And if you're thinking this new case view would be a great place to add features like online case revisions, phase scheduling, and retainer requests, well, let's just say you're not alone.

Have fun checking out the new features, and be sure to let us know what you think. Until next time...

ITC terminates Invisalign's enforcement case against ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect, LLC, announced today it received notice that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has terminated an investigation brought by Invisalign maker Align Technology, Inc.

On January 4, 2013, the Commission issued notice that it had terminated the March 2012 enforcement complaint filed by Align against ClearCorrect Operating, LLC, (“ClearCorrect USA”) and ClearCorrect Pakistan (Private), Ltd., (“ClearCorrect Pakistan”). Align’s enforcement complaint sought to bind ClearCorrect USA and ClearCorrect Pakistan to the terms of a 2006 Consent Order between Align and former competitor OrthoClear, because certain employees of ClearCorrect Pakistan once worked for OrthoClear. The ITC, however, found that there has been “no violation of the consent order” by ClearCorrect USA or ClearCorrect Pakistan and terminated the case.

“We’re very happy with this decision from the ITC,” said Jarrett Pumphrey, ClearCorrect’s CEO. “We think the decision validates what we’ve been saying all along: we’re not OrthoClear.”

Still on the table is the patent infringement complaint Align also filed with the ITC. Bolstered by its victory in the enforcement case, ClearCorrect is as confident as ever that it does not infringe any valid intellectual property, and in fact, looks forward to invalidating the overly-broad patent claims Align has served up.

“ClearCorrect's recent victory does not end its pursuit of judicial findings that Align's patent claims are invalid because they merely claim what orthodontists have been doing for decades,” said Mike Myers, ClearCorrect’s legal counsel. “The validity of Align's patent claims was last tested in its litigation against Ormco Corporation when the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated every Align patent claim it reviewed.“

ITC Notice
Notice of Commission Determination to Review and Reverse an Initial Determination of the Presiding Administrative Law Judge; Termination of the Enforcement Proceeding (PDF)

What's new in 2013

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great holiday break.

The new year is an opportunity for patients to reinvent themselves with a new smile, and it's a great time for doctors to try something new as well. With that in mind, let's take a look at…

What's new in 2013

We said they were coming, and now they're here: ClearCorrect’s new treatment options.

To refresh your memory, the new treatment options are:

  • Limited 6
  • Limited 12
  • Unlimited

Case evaluations are also available if you need a little help getting started, as are standalone retainers.

From here on out, all new cases will be processed as one of these case types: Limited 6 is a super-affordable option for minor anterior adjustments and ortho relapses. Limited 12 is great for cases with a couple of millimeters of crowding or spacing to correct. And Unlimited is the most flexible, no-worries option you can get: as many aligners as you need until the case is closed.

The fine print

The full details of the policies and pricing for these cases are spelled out in our updated terms & conditions. I know it's probably hard to imagine anything more boring, but you really should take a few minutes to look them over. They apply to all cases, not just new cases submitted in 2013.

We've clarified a few policies regarding how long cases can remain open. For instance, cases will be automatically closed after 180 days of inactivity—if it's been almost six months since you got your patient's last phase, time may be running out to request a final retainer or a revision.

Also, case revisions must be submitted within 3 years of the original submission. If you have any patients who started treatment back in 2009 and then drifted off without wrapping things up, it's too late to start the case back up and request refinements now. (We will still ship any already-planned and paid-for phases for older cases, even if they're 3 years old.)

If your patient hasn't been wearing aligners for a while and falls into one of these categories, your best option for doing a little touchup treatment is going to be to submit a brand-new Limited 6 case. (See, we told you they're good for ortho relapses.)

You might also notice a minor change we've made to our payment processing. We used to wait to charge lab fees until we had received all required records (photos, impressions, etc.). We're now charging the lab fee as soon as cases are submitted. We've updated our sample timeline to reflect this change.

Thank you again for being ClearCorrect providers. We can't say it enough. Together, we'll make this our best year yet. Until next time…

New volume discount program

In last week's announcement of our new treatment options for 2013, we mentioned that we're also starting a new volume discount program.

This week, we've got the details on that, plus some answers to your questions from last week, and a reminder about a workshop discount that's going away at the end of the year.

Take five, Five for Five

You may be familiar with our previous volume discount program, called Five for Five. As you submitted cases, you could accumulate credit to be used the next quarter, depending on how many cases you submitted in the quarter.

If you weren't familiar with it, don't get too attached, 'cause it's going away.

Instant gratification

Our new volume discount program delivers instant discounts on Unlimited cases throughout the quarter.

The discounts kick in with a bang after you submit 10 Unlimited cases—the 11th Unlimited case submitted each quarter is free.

After that, the discounts really start to add up. You'll be able to take $100 off your 12th–25th Unlimited cases, $200 off your 26th–35th, and then $300 off Unlimited cases for the rest of the quarter. You'll get your discounts right away, instead of waiting months for an account credit or rebate check.

We know that a lot of you aren't going to treat enough patients to qualify for these discounts. That's why we've made our regular lab fees so affordable; so clear aligners can be accessible to as many people as possible.

However, we wanted to make sure that we were also offering the best available price to doctors who do run high-traffic practices. The discounts are bigger now, and they're available as soon as you earn them.

It's important to note that only Unlimited cases count towards the discount, and only Unlimited cases qualify to be discounted. The incredibly low lab fees for Limited 6 and Limited 12 cases are already available to everyone, regardless of volume.

Q & A

Now to answer some of your questions about the new treatment options:

Q: Can I still submit a Limited or Full case after January 1, 2013?

A: No. The Limited and Full case types are being discontinued on January 1, 2013. Any case submission form that we receive after January 1 will be processed as Limited 12 if it says "Limited" and as Unlimited if it says "Full".

Q: Will I still be able to buy extra phases for my existing Limited & Full cases?

A: Yes, you can still buy extra phases for legacy cases only. Or you can upgrade those cases to Unlimited by paying the difference in their standard lab fees. Any additional fees you've paid over the life of the case (for instance, for shipping, replacements, or extra phases) won't be credited towards the upgrade cost.

Q: I bought a voucher for a Full case. Is it still valid?

A: Yes. If you submit a case with a valid Full voucher after January 1, 2013, we'll process it as an Unlimited case at no additional charge. Cases already started as Full will remain Full unless you choose to upgrade them. (Don't forget to use those vouchers—they expire one year after purchase.)

Q: I've earned Five for Five credit in the fourth quarter of 2012. Can I still use that?

A: Yes. Any Five for Five credit you earn this quarter can be applied next quarter. However, starting January 1, 2013, the Five for Five program will be replaced with the new volume discount program, so you won't earn any additional Five for Five credit after that point.

Q: Which treatment option should I choose when I submit cases in 2013?

A: In general, anything you currently submit as Full will be Unlimited, and most Limited cases will be Limited 12. Limited 6 is ideal for minor anterior movements that can be completed within 6 steps. We'll offer more information to help you choose between case types next year.

New treatment options for 2013

Note to consumers: Our lab fees are confidential. Which is a shame, because they’re really worth bragging about. If you’re a dentist or orthodontist, give us a call at (888) 331-3323 to get the full scoop. If you’re already a provider, details are available on our wiki.

We’re excited to introduce our all-new treatment options, available starting January 1, 2013.

We tested countless variations before finalizing these options. Based on the feedback we’ve received from doctors, we think these new options will provide the greatest combination of affordability, flexibility, and predictability ever available for clear aligners.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Limited 6 — $███

We believe this will be the most affordable clear aligner treatment option available in the industry.

The Limited 6 is ideal for simple anterior adjustments. It includes up to 6 steps of clear aligners (single or dual arch). That’s more aligners than the competition, offered at a lower price. This price is not a limited-time promotion—it’s our everyday lab fee.

Like every ClearCorrect case, this comes with a treatment setup, and (unlike the other guys) Phase Zero and retainers are included at no extra cost. (We could have called this Limited 8, but we didn't want to rub it in.)

Limited 12 — $███

Cases you currently submit as Limited will be treated as a Limited 12, starting January 1.

It’s very similar to what you’re familiar with—you still get up to 12 steps of clear aligners, plus a setup, Phase Zero, and retainers. There's still no fee for revisions, so long as you stay under 12 total aligners. Up to 2 free replacement aligners are now included, and they won't count against the 12 steps allowed for your case.

Unlimited — $███

This is a biggie. If Limited 6 is the most affordable clear aligner option in the industry, this is the most flexible and predictable.

Starting January 1, any cases you currently submit as Full will be treated with the new Unlimited option. It's pretty simple to explain: you get as many aligners as you need, until the case is closed. That includes unlimited revisions for up to 3 years and replacements for any step at no extra cost. Seriously.

While you take a minute to let that soak in, I’ll just mention that the Unlimited lab fee can actually sink as low as $███ with our new volume discount program. (More on that another time.)

We'll also be offering case evaluations and standalone setups to lower the barrier to entry even further. And you can upgrade any case (including legacy Limited and Full cases) to a more comprehensive treatment option just by paying the difference in lab fees. We've added answers to most of your questions about these changes on the wiki, and we'll introduce updated terms & conditions soon with full details.

It’s the same great ClearCorrect product you're used to, now even more flexible and doctor-friendly.

What’s the catch?

As the sharper-eyed among you may have noticed, the Limited 12 and Unlimited lab fees are slightly higher than the current Limited and Full options. We haven’t raised our prices since we started 6 years ago, and we don't plan to do it again any time soon.

Here's why we're making this change now:

  1. We heard your feedback: you love the flexibility of phase-based delivery, but you don’t like keeping track of unused phases, or paying for extra ones. We've eliminated that hassle by creating the new Unlimited option. Increasing the lab fee slightly makes that feasible.
  2. The increases are partially offset by the introduction of Limited 6—our most affordable treatment option ever.
  3. This keeps us in line with inflation, and will allow us to continue to expand and improve our product.

If you want to submit cases before this price increase goes into effect, we totally understand. Any cases submitted by December 31, 2012 will be handled just like they are today, and charged at the current rates. Next year, you’ll have the option to upgrade those cases to the new treatment options at any time just by paying the difference in the lab fee.

I’m sure you want to know more. First, check out the wiki. If you still have questions, post them in the comments, and we'll include our responses in the next tech tip.

Until next time!

Happy Birthday to ClearCorrect!

Six years ago, we began making clear aligners for Dr. Willis Pumphrey and about 400 of his patients in Texas. Today, we have grown significantly to provide a comprehensive clear aligner treatment system for thousands of dentists and tens of thousands of patients nationwide.

We have had an incredible journey thus far, and we want to thank you for your loyalty and support over these years. We couldn't have done it without you!

To commemorate our sixth anniversary, we created this short video to reflect on our past and give a glimpse of what's to come. Our future is bright, and we are excited to share it with you. 

We wish you all the best over the holiday season!

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.

ClearCorrect Online Store is open!

We've designed an array of merchandise to help you manage your cases and promote your practice -- from posters, pens and brochures to IPR kits, aligner plastic and diamond discs. We've now made it easier than ever to order these items for your practice.

Introducing the ClearCorrect Online Store -- a website featuring every item that we offer, including several free promotional items. You can now view photos, descriptions, and tech specs for each item, with links to Wiki articles showing how to use them. Best of all, the store is available 24/7, so that you can re-order supplies at any time: on your home computer, on your smartphone or tablet, or in your practice before an appointment.

Here's how to place an order:

  1. Visit the store and browse the product categories.
  2. Select items for your order by clicking "Add to Cart".
  3. Order your items by entering your provider email and shipping address at checkout. You can choose to have us charge the card on file in ClearComm, or contact you for payment information.

ClearCorrect Wiki is now open!

Good news! The ClearCorrect Wiki is now open to all providers. 

The ClearCorrect Wiki is a comprehensive guide to every component of being a ClearCorrect provider: the ClearCorrect basics, submitting a case, managing your cases, and building your practice as a ClearCorrect provider. It has step-by-step guides, definitions, how-to's, and a big ol' FAQ section.

If you have any questions about the basics of clear aligner therapy, how to perform IPR, our shipping schedule, or you simply need help approving your treatment setup - it's all here!

The Wiki is available 24/7, so that you can learn and find answers at any time: on your home computer, on your smart phone or tablet, or in your practice before an appointment. A link to the Wiki is located on your ClearComm sidebar, so it's never been easier to find the right information -- right when you need it.

A big thank you goes out to all the hard-working ClearCorrect staff members who made this amazing resource available! Please let us know what you think!