Houston-based dentist Willis Pumphrey founded ClearCorrect in 2006, after the company that provided his patients with invisible dental aligners shut down. Today, ClearCorrect, now run by Pumphrey's son, Jarrett, provides clear aligners to thousands of doctors nationwide for up to 40 percent less than its top rival, Invisalign. The company lowers costs, in part, by shipping each patient's aligners in phases, so doctors can make adjustments along the way. But ClearCorrect's success has been overshadowed by a contentious relationship with Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign. In February, Align filed two lawsuits against ClearCorrect, for patent infringement and pricing its aligners below the average cost of production and distribution. ClearCorrect countersued, claiming that some of Align's patents are invalid. "They had a lock on the industry," Jarrett Pumphrey says. "But doctors want choices."
J.J. MCCORVEY is a reporter at Inc. magazine, where he covers a wide range of topics, including technology and business research. He has covered metro news for The Detroit News, and his work has been featured in Men's Fitness. @jmccorvey