Invisalign patients file class-action suit, claim Align monopolized market

Invisalign purchasers filed a class-action lawsuit May 3 against Invisalign maker Align Technology, accusing it of monopolizing the U.S. aligner market since at least 2017.

The lawsuit was filed by Hagens Berman attorneys in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California and accuses San Jose, Calif.-based Align of violating federal antitrust laws and consumer protection laws by monopolizing the market and using a variety of anticompetitive tactics.

"There's a reason why the average consumer hasn't heard of Invisalign's competitors: Align has used its control of aligners and dental scanners to self-reinforce its market dominance in both markets," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. "Align's anticompetitive tactics have sustained its monopoly since at least 2017 and has led consumers to overpay for Invisalign, and we believe at $8,000 a pop, Align has a large debt to settle with its customers."

The lawsuit claims that for many years, Align was able to charge high prices and earn high profit margins because Invisalign was protected by a "thicket of hundreds of patents that Align wielded aggressively to protect its monopoly."

The suit alleges that the company also used its power to manipulate the market of hand-held digital intraoral scanners. Align's scanner product iTero uses a closed system, imposing costs on dentists who use it for aligners that aren't manufactured by Align. Because of this anticompetitive scheme, Align was able to overcharge consumers who purchased Invisalign, the suit claims.

The suit says the company created "a self-reinforcing cycle where Align's dominance of the scanner market ensured continued dominance of the Aligner market."

Consumers seek repayment for what they overpaid due to Align's alleged monopoly, as well as injunctive relief.

Becker's has reached out to Align and will update this article as more information becomes available.

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