Case Study: How the dental aligner market exploded when Invisalign patents expired

Do you remember when Invisalign hit the market in 1998? It was a revolutionary product that promised to straighten your teeth without metal braces. Finally, people could improve their smiles without undergoing the torture of a mouth full of hardware. It was a particularly fantastic solution for adults, who often find the look of metal braces to be juvenile. 

For years, Invisalign was the only invisible aligner on the market. If you wanted to straighten your teeth without metal, they were your only option. But then, a few years ago, a variety of other invisible aligner companies hit the market. SmileDirectClub, Candid, and Byte all began offering invisible aligners, sometimes with the added convenience of delivering custom aligners right to a customer’s home. But despite the increase in competition, Invisalign remains the most recognizable name in the invisible aligner market. 

So what happened here? Did it take twenty years for other companies to figure out Invisalign’s technology? No. The reality is that in October of 2017, more than 40 patents held by Invisalign expired. Suddenly, the market was open for competition, and competitors flooded the space. This is a prime example of how patents can influence the marketplace in a way that is so obvious that even consumers who do not use the products take notice of the shift in the market.

Through the strategic use of patents, Invisalign got a 20-year market lead on any competitor. The company dominated the invisible aligner space and will likely continue to do so even after losing exclusivity in various areas. This is just one example of how patents can influence the marketplace in a way that is incredibly advantageous to the owner of those patents. 

If you have a game-changing invention or even an invention or process that improves your business sector or makes your products or services more efficient, contact the Jafari Law Group about securing a patent. We will do everything we can to ensure that you receive exclusivity and that any copyright infringement is handled swiftly and efficiently. 

Do not wait for a competitor to come up with the same thing you have. You could be the next Invisalign, enjoying a twenty-year head start in the marketplace. This is too important to wait on, so call us today to get started.