Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 00:15:37 -0600
From: "ESCO automatic digest system" <LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU>
Subject: ESCO Digest - 6 Nov 2006 to 10 Nov 2006 (#2006-41)

There are 2 messages totalling 994 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:
1. Re: Invisalign
2. Re: Invisalign


Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 21:53:03 -0500
From: "David Paquette" <dave@PAQUETTEORTHO.COM>
Subject: Re: Invisalign


First off, I own no stock in either Align or Sybron (Ormco), both of which I lecture for.  I intentionally do that to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

As far as your discontent with the legal process, all I can say is that the orthodontic manufacturers all have patents on their products, some that seem on the surface to be ideas everyone could benefit from; such as pre-pasted brackets by Unitek, how torque is cut into a bracket and even some things as simple as packaging design. There are ongoing lawsuits between many of the manufacturers that simply happen behind the scenes and we don't ever hear of them.  I have been in product development meetings where great ideas have been presented, only to find out that someone else has the concept patented and the product never gets brought to market.  This suit was different probably because of the scope.  The multiple lawsuits were beyond simple patent infringement, but also had to do with business practices and other things.  The settlement was simply that, a settlement.  As I understood it, they settled at that time because the conclusion was self-evident and neither company wanted to spend any more money on legal fees.  Believe it or not, people patent things they don't even think of themselves and I actually have had other orthodontists run off and patent ideas that I have presented in lectures as incredible as that might seem.  Will someone else find a way to make clear aligner type alliances?  I feel confident that it will happen.  The only question is when and by whom.

As far as the Putting-Patients First Program, you would have to ask someone at Align, but to the best of my knowledge it was something Align offered to do on their own and was not an actual part of the settlement negotiations.  I don't see the request for new records as unreasonable any more than an orthodontist requiring new records on a transfer patient and charging the patient for them.  I'm not saying that it is not unfortunate, it is, but it is not unreasonable.  That is also the cost of a company being mismanaged and going out of business or being absorbed by another.  We have seen it over and over with the orthodontic software companies resulting in great(er) inconvenience and expense to their orthodontist customers who then also get stuck with a discontinuation of support of the software.  It seems to me that Align did the right thing by accepting all these transfers FOR NOTHING.  I don't see how they could have done anything else that would have served the patients or orthodontists better.  If I need to have an appliance remade by any lab, I still have to pay for the impressions, the lab doesn't.  I agree that Align is a very high tech lab, but I don't understand what else they could do in addition to offering to accept the patient's records and help the orthodontist complete the treatment.

I really think the problem here is that many orthodontists like yourself don't like the fact orthodontic manufacturing now is big business and the companies are responsible to their shareholders on one side and the orthodontist customer on the other.  Personally I don't have a problem with it.

If there was an injustice done, it seems to me that it was probably done by OrthoClear misleading orthodontists and patients by telling people they could get around the patents and survive the other lawsuits.  Perhaps there is someone there who could help out their former customers with financial support for the transfer records in the same way an orthodontist who received more compensation from a patient than the treatment rendered will be willing to refund some of the fee, that is unless they have closed up the office and left town.


Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 16:45:50 -0500
From: drakahn@AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Invisalign

I had decided not to write on this forum because I was annoyed at the fact that vendors are allowed to participate and chastise anyone that talks badly about their products.
However following the Invisalign debate I do want to add my opinion.

As many of you, I am incredibly upset at Invisalign practices. My OrthoClear patients are uset at me after I told them that their treatment would be on-hold until March, perhaps longer than that.

The way Invisalign is treating us is wrong. They need us more than we need them. If we refused to use their system, their company would not survive. We are allowing a non-health professional organization dictate how we will treat our patients. We still have all the liability and they have non.

I think WE should be the ones that dictate how they are going to treat our patients and not the other way around. Invisalign, just as all other orthodontic suppliers, should be a tool to care for our patients. Now we have allowed Invisalign to make us, the orthodontists, their tool, only to make money.

How would they survive if we all decided to stop using them? What if we got some direct advertising recommending the lay public against the use of their system??

Just an idea. And by the way, I am using a colleague's email address, since I do not want Invisalign to take action against me for sharing my opinion with my professional peers.