A lawsuit filed against Align Technology alleges that the company engaged in anticompetitive behavior by siloing the functionality of its iTero scanner.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Align Technology by two dental practices alleging that Align engaged in anticompetitive conduct causing those who purchased Invisalign Aligners directly from Align to pay more than they should have for those Aligners.

Align Technology has denied the allegations and said that it would defend itself against the claims.

The lawsuit was filed by the law firm Simon and Simon, PC, on behalf of City Smiles and VIP Dental Spas. In the court documents, the companies allege that Align has a monopoly in the aligner market and the market for scanners that are used to produce aligners. They allege Align engaged in a “scheme to stifle competition in these markets, including designing its iTero scanner so that it can only be used to order Invisalign.”

The lawsuit states that in 2015, Align Technology had designed a way for 3Shape Trios scans to be used for Invisalign aligners through an interoperability agreement but the functionality was removed when the agreement was terminated a few years later. The lawsuit claims that this was a calculated move “to help Align achieve the entrenchment of Invisalign’s monopoly power in the aligner market.”

The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California has allowed the lawsuit to be a class action on behalf of all persons or entities in the United States that purchased Invisalign Aligners directly from Align during the period beginning January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2022. Excluded from the Class are (1) Align, its subsidiaries, affiliate entities, and employees, and (2) all federal or state government entities or agencies. So far the court has not decided whether Align Technology has done anything wrong.

Align Technology denied the allegations in a statement saying, “Align believes the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the claims in the lawsuits. Align maintains that its discounts and superior products, technology and service benefit dental practices and patients and are neither anticompetitive nor unlawful. The lawsuits have nothing to do with the clinical effectiveness or safety of Align products and should not prevent doctors or patients from using our clear aligners or scanners.”

A trial date was set for May 13, 2024 in the United States District Court for Northern District of California.