Judge Vincent Chhabria of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an Opinion and Order denying Defendants’ motion to dismiss.
The Joseph Saveri Law Firm represents Plaintiffs in City Smiles et al. v. Align Technology, Inc., filed in the United States District Court, Northern Division of California. This Invisalign antitrust litigation on behalf of all dental practices that purchased Invisalign Aligners and/or iTero Scanners directly from Defendant Align Technology, Inc. (“Align”), arises from Align’s alleged acquisition and maintenance of monopoly power in the markets for two products:
- custom-manufactured, transparent, removable “Invisalign” dental aligners made from clear plastic; and
- hand-held digital intraoral scanners used to generate scans to order aligners.
Align has dominated the aligner market for decades with its Invisalign aligners. It controls approximately 90 percent of the aligners market and earns over $1 billion a year selling Invisalign, with durable profit margins above 75%. Align dominates the scanner market with its iTero product, controlling approximately 80% of the market and several millions of dollars a year selling iTero, with profit margins above 60%.
Aligners and scanners are designed to work together for dental practices. Scanners take a digital image of the jaws, teeth, and bite of a patient. These scans are sent to an aligner manufacturer, which uses the images to create custom-manufactured aligners for patients. Patients typically undergo regular scans and have numerous sets of aligners manufactured during a course of treatment, with aligners being adjusted as the patients’ teeth move. Scanner usage creates a “digital workflow” designed to make it more convenient, cheaper, and quicker for dental practices to order aligners. This workflow has increased the use of Invisalign aligners by dental practices
For many years, Align had been able to charge high prices and earn high-profit margins on Invisalign because the product was protected by hundreds of patents that Align allegedly wielded to protect its monopoly. Their monopoly came under threat in 2017 due to the expiration of several of its key patents and increased competition in the Aligner market.
Align responded to this threat with a multifaceted anticompetitive scheme to monopolize both the scanner and aligner markets (“scheme”). This scheme substantially foreclosed competition in both markets. Through it, Align was able to use its monopoly power in the aligner market to drive competitors out of the scanner market, and then to use its increased monopoly power in the scanner market to maintain its monopoly power in the aligner market and to charge supracompetitive prices for both its aligners and its scanners.
Plaintiffs bring this Invisalign antitrust litigation on behalf of themselves and other dental practices who purchased aligners and/or scanners directly from Align from March 15, 2015-present. Plaintiffs seek treble damages and injunctive relief, and demand a jury trial under the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 2), and Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 15, 26).
Please contact the firm if:
- You have knowledge of the alleged anticompetitive conduct Align engaged in concerning the aligner and/or scanner markets;
- You have purchased aligners and/or scanners from Align from March 15, 2015-present and are interested in becoming a class representative; or
- You would like to learn more about this Invisalign antitrust litigation or our other antitrust cases and investigations.
Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential as provided by law unless and until you agree to publicly disclose the information.
April 8, 2021
December 10, 2020
U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria indicated at a hearing that he will likely reject a bid by the maker of Invisalign to dismiss claims it violated antitrust laws to take over the market for clear aligners and the mouth scanners used to make them, saying dentists had stated their claims with enough particularity for the pleading stage. Judge Chhabria said that a proposed class of dentists and orthodontists alleging Align Technology Inc. engaged in an anti-competitive scheme appear to have met the plausibility standard and that it would not be appropriate for him to nix the claims at this stage.