ClearCorrect, LLC, a manufacturer of clear aligners, received notice that Align Technology, Inc., (the maker of Invisalign®) has filed another round of lawsuits alleging patent infringement, this time in two complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
The first complaint alleges ClearCorrect is infringing seven patents related to methods of planning and implementing orthodontic treatment with aligners. Several of the patents-in-issue overlap patents from Align's federal suit against ClearCorrect filed just last year. Though filing complaints with the ITC is a clear favorite from Align's "how to beat your competition" playbook, ClearCorrect remains unfazed.
"We're certain we don't infringe any valid patents," said Jarrett Pumphrey, ClearCorrect CEO. "It doesn't matter how many times they sue us or where they sue us -- that won't change. The only thing this changes is who we'll be proving that to."
In fact, according to ClearCorrect's legal counsel, Mike Myers, ClearCorrect welcomes the ITC action, "The ITC process is generally faster, so ClearCorrect can makes its case sooner rather than later. ClearCorrect has always maintained that orthodontists taught Align how to straighten teeth, not the other way around. In its first two cases, Align was never able to show that ClearCorrect does anything other than practice the vast prior art developed by orthodontists over the last 70 years, which ClearCorrect is free to do. The new filings should allow ClearCorrect to promptly demonstrate the scope of its work and thereby continue to focus on servicing its customers distraction-free."
The second complaint seeks enforcement of a Consent Order granted in 2006 from an ITC action between Align and OrthoClear. Though ClearCorrect is not OrthoClear, Align is apparently asking the ITC to recognize them as the same company and enforce a Consent Order that would otherwise not apply.
Per Align, certain employees of ClearCorrect Pakistan (Private) Ltd., a company started in Lahore, Pakistan, to support the domestic and international growth of ClearCorrect, are in violation of the Consent Order. Align contends that those employees previously worked for OrthoClear and are now engaging in alleged "infringing activities." The employees of ClearCorrect Pakistan use the process developed in the US by ClearCorrect, which does not infringe any of Align's valid patents. This is simply another way Align is attempting to use the courts to scare doctors and disrupt fair and legitimate competition.
"Align has been trying to convince doctors that we're OrthoClear for years. This is just more of the same," said Pumphrey. "The truth is, as we've planned and positioned for international growth, we found a motivated and passionate workforce in Pakistan to support it -- just like Align did, once upon a time. But that doesn't make us OrthoClear or Align. We're ClearCorrect."