ClearCorrect Inc, Houston, a manufacturer of FDA-cleared transparent orthodontic aligners, has filed a declaratory judgment against Align Technology Inc, the manufacturer of Invisalign®. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Specifically, ClearCorrect  filed a complaint alleging that certain patents owned by Align Technology are invalid and that ClearCorrect’s clear braces products and processes do not infringe upon those patents.
A declaratory judgment is a court decision in a civil case that tells the parties what their rights and responsibilities are, without awarding damages or ordering them to do anything. Unlike most court cases, where the plaintiff asks for damages or other court orders, the plaintiff in a declaratory judgment case simply wants the court to resolve an uncertainty so that it can avoid future litigation and associated costs.
“This suit was filed against Align Technology not to prevent Align from conducting business, but to ensure that ClearCorrect could compete openly and fairly in the market for clear orthodontic aligners without threat of litigation by Align,” says Randy J. McClanahan, ClearCorrect’s attorney from the firm of McClanahan, Myers, and Espey LLP.
“Fortunately for us, the Constitution provides protection in these ‘David versus Goliath’ situations,” said Willis Pumphrey, DDS, CEO of ClearCorrect. “We are merely trying to avoid protracted litigation such as Align’s suit against Ormco Corporation, which took 6 years and untold legal costs to eventually prove the invalidity of several of Align’s patent claims. We are willing to voluntarily dismiss our suit if Align provides assurance that it will not initiate similar litigation in the future.”