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SmileDirectClub Awarded US Patent for SmileShop Concept and Plans to Reopen Stores in May

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SmileDirectClub shares traded 20% higher after the company reported it has been awarded a U.S. patent for its SmileShop retail concept and treatment process and that it plans to reopen stores on a rolling basis starting in May.

SmileDirectClub Inc. (SDC:NASDAQ) today announced "it has been issued a patent for its SmileShop intellectual property from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office which further strengthens the telehealth dentistry pioneer's efforts to bring affordable, accessible oral care to more people through its unique and innovative teledentistry platform and direct-to-consumer business model." The firm claimed that the patent will prevent other clear aligner competitors from duplicating its business model for the next 18 years.

The company's CEO David Katzman commented, "This patent designation is a significant validation of our unique customer-oriented care model, and expands our category ownership, including the manufacturing and retail experience...As the industry pioneer and inventor of the SmileShop concept, this patent is recognition that SmileDirectClub offers an innovative way for consumers to access oral care that is safe, doctor-directed and convenient. We look forward to welcoming customers back to our SmileShops at the earliest and safest possible time."

"We are focused on the entire teeth straightening and care process, and we now own the manufacturing process of our clear aligner products, the customer experience via our teledentistry platform, as well as the retail experience for clear aligner therapy. This patent is another step in our process as we continue to grow and protect our business," Katzman added.

The firm advised that "the patent encompasses the unique SmileShop concept and process" which includes appointment scheduling, conducting an intraoral scan, generating an approved treatment plan by a licensed dentist or orthodontist and then creating and shipping the aligners to the customer. The company noted that so far more than one million customers have used its clear aligner therapy platform.

The company stated that it is planning to slowly reopen its SmileShops in the U.S. and other markets starting in May as local governments begin to lift business restrictions. The firm indicated that it will be supplying all of its SmileShop team members with face shields and other PPE and will institute staggered appointment times, temperature scans and other social distancing and sanitary measures to provide a safe experience for all staff and customers.

SmileDirectClub is an oral care company headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The firm stated that it is the creator of the first direct-to-consumer medtech platform for teeth straightening. The company has since expanded its business and now offers its products directly through dentist and orthodontists' offices. Some of the products offered by the company include aligners, impression kits, retainers and whitening gel. In addition to the U.S., the company also operates in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand and the U.K.

SmileDirectClub began the day with a market capitalization of around $2.1 billion with approximately 385 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 10.4%. SDC shares opened more than 26% higher today at $6.76 (+$1.37, +26.42%) over yesterday's $5.39 closing price. The stock has traded today between $6.13 to $6.80 per share and is currently trading at $6.64 (+$1.25, +23.14%).

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