This story has been updated with a statement from Shure.
ClearOne has announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) issued a judgment last Friday affirming a January 2019 decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) confirming the patentability of all claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,264,553 (the “553 Patent”). The ‘553 Patent covers aspects of ClearOne’s revolutionary innovations in beamforming microphone arrays (BMAs).
Shure challenged the validity of the ‘553 Patent through the inter partes review process in the PTO after ClearOne accused Shure of infringing multiple ClearOne patents covering fundamental BMA technology. “After a one-year, in-depth trial, the PTAB rejected Shure’s arguments and agreed with ClearOne that the ’553 Patent was valid. Shure asked the PTAB to reconsider, but that strategy backfired, as the PTAB only explained Shure’s errors in even greater detail. Shure then appealed to the Federal Circuit, which promptly affirmed the PTAB’s decision just two days after the case was argued in Washington, DC,” said ClearOne Chair and CEO Zee Hakimoglu.
“The Federal Circuit has essentially dealt a knock-out blow to Shure’s campaign against ClearOne’s ’553 Patent in the PTO. This decision should put an end to these misguided efforts. Shure tried desperately to invalidate one of our broadest BMA patents in the PTO and lost,” Hakimoglu explained.
“This is another significant victory for ClearOne,” added Hakimoglu. “Last year ClearOne obtained a preliminary injunction against Shure after demonstrating that Shure was likely infringing a different ClearOne patent, and the Federal Circuit’s decision puts ClearOne in an even better position as we prepare for trial.”
ClearOne says its BMA technology is protected by at least a dozen patents and pending patent applications. The ’553 Patent is directed at ClearOne’s innovative combination of BMA and acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) signal processing. ClearOne has asserted that Shure infringes the ’553 Patent as well as U.S. Patent No. 9,635,186, which is a direct descendant of the ’553 Patent, and U.S. Patent No. 9,813,806, directed at a BMA integrated into a ceiling tile. The ’806 Patent is the basis for the preliminary injunction against Shure.
The case number at the Federal Circuit is 2019-1755 and at the PTAB was IPR2017- 01785 and you can read it here.
Shure sent us the following statement in response:
“Shure is disappointed by the appellate court’s failure to recognize the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s legal error. We continue to believe the ‘553 patent is invalid and remain confident that Shure’s products do not infringe any patents held by ClearOne. We look forward to presenting our case to a jury later this year. This ruling has no impact on the availability of any of our offerings, including the MXA910W-A, and as always, our top priority remains providing an uninterrupted supply of innovative products to our customers.”