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WILMINGTON, Del., US: A long-running dispute between two leading dental technology companies appears to have reached an end. Align Technology and 3Shape said that they had settled a four-year legal dispute relating to patents and business practices concerning the companies’ intra-oral scanning solutions. Both companies said that they were pleased that the matter was resolved and that they would continue to focus on developing innovative technologies for dentists and dental laboratories.
The settlement brings to a close a series of protracted legal proceedings and specifically resolves 3Shape’s patent infringement and anti-trust claims, which had been pending in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, and further patent infringement claims filed by the company, which had been pending in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Both parties had lodged petitions to invalidate certain patents issued to the other, and these petitions had been pending before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
The two companies have been embroiled in legal in-fighting since late 2017, when California-based Align accused Denmark-headquartered 3Shape of patent infringement regarding its TRIOS intra-oral scanner and Dental System software. 3Shape responded the following year by levelling its own patent infringement suits at Align, as well as anti-trust legal action.
The terms of the settlement are confidential but Align specified that the current practice of it accepting scans from 3Shape’s TRIOS 2 and TRIOS 3 intra-oral scanners for Invisalign case submissions—in certain territories outside of the US, China and Japan—would continue. The company said that it did not expect the terms of the settlement to affect its operations or financial results.
In a press release, Jakob Just-Bomholt, CEO of 3Shape, commented that he was pleased to have reached “a fair and equitable agreement” with Align after the drawn-out legal process. “This agreement will now allow us to focus even more on what we do best: developing innovative technology solutions for dentists and dental labs to improve patient care,” he said.
Julie Coletti, senior vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer at Align, said in Align’s own press bulletin: “Align Technology is pleased to have resolved these disputes with 3Shape.” She added: “We will continue our focus on innovation, including technologies such as the award-winning iTero Element 5D imaging system.”