3Shape, Copenhagen, Denmark, announced that the company has received a favorable Notice of Initial Determination, issued by an administrative law judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) from the ITC’s investigation of the second patent infringement complaint filed by Align Technology against 3Shape at the ITC in November 2017.

On April 26, 2019, Judge Sandra Lord found that 3Shape did not commit any unfair acts as asserted by Align, ruling that there was no violation. According to a press release from 3Shape, this is the second time that an ITC Judge found that 3Shape did not commit any unfair acts as asserted by Align.

In the first ITC case, Administrative Law Judge Judge Cheney on March 1, 2019 issued a favorable Notice of Initial Determination.

3Shape maintains that in relation to that ITC case Align issued a misleading press release suggesting that the Initial Determination confirms that its infringement claims asserted in the ITC have merit. According to 3Shape, the Initial Determination itself finds that each of the patent claims which 3Shape’s products would potentially infringe, is invalid. The Initial Determination finds that 3Shape has not committed any unfair act and for Align to now claim that their ITC allegations were found to have merit is misleading.

“We are pleased that Judge Lord rejects Align’s claim for an import ban. It is yet another victory for innovation and the many dental professionals who every day apply innovative dental solutions to provide better dental care for their patients. We are confident that the ITC will follow Judge Lord’s Initial Determination,” says Tais Clausen, co-CEO and co-founder of 3Shape.

In reply to Align’s initial infringement claims made with the ITC, the District Court of Delaware, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 3Shape additionally filed two patent infringement complaints in May and June last year and an antitrust lawsuit for abuse of monopoly power against Align in August 2018. 3Shape has further challenged the validity of several of Align’s patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In the antitrust lawsuit against Align, 3Shape claims that Align is trying to hold on to its monopoly in the U.S. clear aligner market and attempting to monopolize the U.S. market for scanners for orthodontic treatment, by, among other things, blocking the ability of a scanner competitor (3Shape TRIOS) from being used by dental professionals to order Invisalign clear aligners.