3D printing has been a common topic of discussion of the blog. We’ve written about it here and in a more in-depth review of the legal issues raised by the emergence of 3D printing in the medical device industry in our September 2015 white paper. 3D printing is in the news again thanks to the recent Federal Circuit ruling in ClearCorrect Operating LLC v. Intl Trade Comm’n , No. 2014- 1527 (Fed. Cir., Nov. 10, 2015). According to the ruling, the ITC does not have jurisdiction over digital data transmitted into the United States from abroad due to the fact that digital data is not a “material thing.”
The issue at hand in ClearCorrect was that the respondents and accused infringers (ClearCorrect Operating, LLC and ClearCorrect Pakistan, Ltd.) used 3D printers in the United States to manufacture orthodontic aligners using digital models created in Pakistan. The Administrative Law Judge overseeing the ITC investigation found that the methods used to design and manufacture the aligners infringed the petitioner’s (Align Technology, Inc.) patents, and issued cease-and-desist orders against ClearCorrect and ClearCorrect Pakistan forbidding the importation of infringing digital models. The Federal Circuit’s ruling revoked the cease-and-desist order.