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Align patents infringed by 3Shape but no violation, says US trade commission

A judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission said Danish dental company 3Shape A/S did not violate a patent infringement law that Align Technology Inc. says should be grounds to prevent 3Shape from importing its products in the country.

The judge, in an initial determination, noted that while 3Shape did infringe on certain Align patents, they were not grounds for a violation of law since Align's own products do not practice the claims in question. The companies have been in dispute ever since Align alleged that certain 3Shape oral products meant for dentists to scan mouths infringed the patents of its products.

Align said it will seek further review of the ruling, which needs to be ratified by a panel of commissioners at the International Trade Commission. A request for review is a form of appeal. A final determination is expected by July 1, following which a lawsuit filed by Align in a federal district court in Delaware can proceed.

Align has alleged the infringement of the same patents in the lawsuit. The company also has other lawsuits that allege infringement of other patents by 3Shape, and their trials are scheduled for the first half of next year.