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ITC finds no violation of Align Technology patents by 3Shape
WASHINGTON, U.S.: Another court case in the drawn-out patent battle between Align Technology and 3Shape has come to a close. A notice of final determination issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was no Section 337 violation and that, while 3Shape had infringed upon certain Align patent claims, those claims were found to be invalid. Furthermore, of the two Align patents that were found to be valid, the ITC determined that neither had been infringed by 3Shape.
As reported by Dental Tribune International last month, the two dental companies have clashed on the intellectual property front numerous times over the last few years both in the ITC and in various U.S. District Courts. In 2019, multiple judgments were handed down regarding the investigations of patent infringements filed by Align that, by and large, resulted favourably for 3Shape. The ITC issued notices of initial determination in March and April that found that, in relation to the original Section 337 claims filed in November 2017, no violation of Align’s patent rights had been committed by 3Shape—determinations that were confirmed by final rulings released later in the year.
In this most recent case, however, an initial notice of determination issued by the ITC in May 2020 found that 3Shape had, in fact, infringed seven of nine patent claims asserted in the case by Align, though the patents asserted against 3Shape’s TRIOS intraoral scanner were found not to have been infringed upon. The final determination has thus reversed several parts of this initial determination, leading both companies to issue strongly worded statements to the press.
“We are pleased that the commission has found no violation by 3Shape,” 3Shape CEO Jakob Just-Bomholt said. “Following 3Shape’s favorable outcomes in all three ITC investigations Align initiated, this is yet another victory for 3Shape, innovation, and dental professionals. Align has attempted to use ITC investigations to block 3Shape’s innovative products in the intraoral scanner market and has now completely failed in its attempt.”
Meanwhile, Julie Coletti, Align Technology’s senior vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer, stated: “We respectfully disagree with the commission’s reversal of the administrative law judge’s determination and are evaluating our next steps in this matter, including possible reconsideration by the full commission and/or an appeal to the Federal Circuit.”
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting our patented inventions and are proud of our history of innovation, our over US$2 billion in investments in technology and the benefit that our innovations bring to patients and doctors,” she added.
Currently, there are six separate patent infringement lawsuits that have been filed by Align against 3Shape in U.S. courts relating to over 25 patents. Meanwhile, 3Shape has an anti-trust lawsuit and a patent infringement case of its own against Align pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.