Scanner Wars: 3Shape sues Align Technology

In the latest round of lawsuits, 3Shape is suing Align Technology alleging that their proprietary intraoral scanners allow them to maintain a near monopoly.

Intraoral Scanner Lawsuits

3Shape has filed a federal lawsuit against Align Technology for allegedly acting illegally to block competition in the US by requiring Invisalign prescribing doctors to use Align’s iTero scanner, which can only send files to Align.

This is important to 3Shape because their TRIOS intraoral scanner is designed for doctors wishing to prescribe clear aligners for various brands and is compatible with more than 40 systems. 3Shape alleges that Align continues to hold it’s near monopoly in the clear aligner market due to this tactic. 3Shape estimates that Align has an 80% market share.

There was already bad blood between these companies.

In December 2017, Align announced the termination of its Invisalign interoperability contract with 3Shape, which became effective in January, 2018. Align asserted that it was taking that action due to previous lawsuits by Align against 3Shape, which included six patent infringement lawsuits claiming that 3Shape’s TRIOS intraoral scanner infringed on Align’s patents.

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In May of this year, 3Shape shot back with its own lawsuit alleging that iTero infringed on its patents.

In July, 3Shape announced a deal with Heartland Dental to put its scanners in more than 850 supported offices. On the same day, Align announced a deal with Aspen Dental to put its scanners in nearly 700 supported offices. According to 3Shape, they bid on both opportunities and claim to have lost the Aspen opportunity because they did not have interoperability with Align.

It is safe to say that these two companies are not friendly competitors.