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Ortho Caps GmbH Effectively Fends Off Patent Attacks of Align Technology, Inc. (ALGN)


7/22/2013 8:24:33 AM

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HAMM, Germany, July 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

With six decisions of the district court of Düsseldorf Germany on 04.07.2013 the trial in the first instance in the patent dispute between Ortho Caps GmbH and Align Technology has finally ended. In December 2011, Align Technology filed six patent infringement lawsuits against Ortho Caps. In view of a strong likelihood of invalidity of the two underlying patents, the district court has stayed the cases EP 2 295004 and EP 0 989 828. These patents cover the basic technologies like computer aided design (CAD) used in the production of aligners. In an other case EP 1 269 091, relating to the distribution of aligners, the court dismissed Align's assertion of infringement by Ortho Caps to a predominant extent.

In the remaining three cases, EP 1 143 872, EP 2 263 599 and EP 2 263 598 the court has upheld the complaints but does not prejudge the decisions in the pending invalidity suits and oppositions filed by Ortho Caps against these patents with the European Patent Office. The three patents relate to techniques, which are substitutable and for which, Ortho Caps has already developed new improved alternative techniques. These techniques provide additional value to Ortho Caps products and services. Moreover, Ortho Caps will appeal the decision to the Düsseldorf high court (Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf) shortly.

With respect to the pending invalidity lawsuits and oppositions filed by Ortho Caps against all of the above mentioned Align patents at the European Patent Office, the first decisions are expected in 2014.

Commenting on the recent press release put out by Align Technology, Dr. Wajeeh Khan, managing director and founder of Ortho Caps, said, "We are more than satisfied by the court ruling since it does not pose a threat to our company´s continuing growth of our market share in the aligner business."

He further noted, "As expected, Align's propaganda machine has now kicked into overdrive. The whole purpose of the exercise is to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation within the orthodontic industry to keep competition at bay. The fact of the matter is, that out of six patents, two were stayed by the court (the court decision may have been influenced by clear evidence about obvious prior art of the Align patents). A third patent has no bearing on us, since we do not supply aligners as a "single package" and therefore was dismissed by the court. A further patent, relates to the use of a template for bonding attachments. We have developed a better method, that does not require a template to bond attachments and have started using it. That only leaves two patents (dated 1997), where the court ruled in Align´s favour. We have already developed and implemented new techniques to manufacture aligners, using state of the art technology, that not only achieve better clinical results, but also make the aligners more transparent and thus more acceptable to the patients. These techniques are not covered by the two remaining patents. So as far as we are concerned, our ability to develop, manufacture and sell our aligners is not compromised in any way by the court ruling and we are very happy for that."

Regarding the pending invalidity suits and oppositions filed by Ortho Caps against all six Align patents with the European Patent Office, Dr. Khan said "We will continue to pursue all legal channels to try to expose the absurdity of Align patents. A first ruling is expected in 2014. We are a company that is committed to bringing the best possible solutions to patients seeking invisible orthodontic treatment and not a company looking to generate revenue by applying for a broad spectrum of patents, which are poorly defended by prior art, obviousness or actual inventiveness. Ortho Caps remains committed to excellence in orthodontic products rather than commercial aims through unjustifiable patent application and enforcement games. Ortho Caps also remains committed to challenging and exposing implausible patents that reduce competition and result in inferior products to orthodontic professionals. We are committed to a fair playing field, fair competition, and excellence of products in the orthodontic industry."

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