By Eric Schweibenz
On February 19, 2014, Ivoclar Vivadent AG of Liechtenstein, Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc. of Amherst, New York, and Ivoclar Vivadent Manufacturing Inc. of Somerset, New Jersey (collectively, “Ivoclar”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Dentsply International Inc. of York, Pennsylvania, Dentsply Prosthetics U.S. LLC a/k/a Dentsply Ceramco of York, Pennsylvania, and DeguDent GmbH of Germany (collectively, “Dentsply”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain lithium silicate materials and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,047,021 (the ‘021 patent) and 8,444,756 (the ‘756 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to lithium silicate glass-ceramic materials and a production process for those materials.  In particular, the ‘021 patent relates to a specific process using a starting glass of a specific composition to provide a lithium silicate glass-ceramic blank with lithium metasilicate crystals as the main crystalline phase.  The ‘756 patent relates to a machinable lithium silicate glass-ceramic product with lithium metasilicate as the main crystalline phase, and which exhibits a flexural strength greater than 180 MPa.

In the complaint, Ivoclar states that Dentsply imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to Dentsply’s Celtra Duo product family as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Ivoclar states that its IPS e.max CAD product is protected by the asserted patents.  Ivoclar further states that it is expending significant resources in the U.S. on plant and equipment, and in employment of labor and capital, in connection with IPS e.max CAD.  Ivoclar also refers to investments in research and development, validation studies, marketing-support studies, complaint handling, and technical support in running and managing clinical studies in support of IPS e.max CAD.

As to related litigation, Ivoclar states that on October 15, 2013, it asserted the ‘021 and ‘756 patents against Dentsply in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.  According to the complaint, the Delaware case is still pending.

With respect to potential remedy, Ivoclar requests that the Commission issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Dentsply and related entities.