Updated: Court Orders Shure to Stop Selling the MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone in ClearOne Preliminary Injunction Win

ClearOne today got word that the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois granted ClearOne’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing Shure Incorporated from manufacturing, marketing, and selling the Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone for use in its “drop-ceiling mounting configuration.”

The Court determined that such sales are likely to infringe ClearOne’s U.S. Patent No. 9,813,806 (the “Graham Patent”). The Graham Patent, entitled “Integrated beamforming microphone array and ceiling or wall tile,” covers, among other things, a beamforming microphone array integrated into a ceiling tile as a single unit.  ClearOne’s beamforming microphone array ceiling tile incorporating the innovative technology of the Graham Patent, the BMA CT, debuted earlier this year and is now shipping.

ClearOne sought the preliminary injunction from the Court as part of ongoing litigation to protect ClearOne’s intellectual property rights and rightful place in the market.  As the Court noted in its order, “The public benefits when [the patent] system works, and suffers when patents are infringed, so it is in the public interest — in the long run—to protect valid patents.” 
 
The Court’s order also prevents Shure from encouraging others to use the Shure MXA910 beamforming microphone array in the “drop-ceiling mounting configuration” and “applies to Shure’s officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, as well as anyone who is in active concert or participation with those listed persons.”

A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted.  In granting ClearOne’s request, the Court acknowledged the strength of ClearOne’s position against Shure, declaring that “ClearOne has established that it is likely to succeed on the merits” of its infringement claims.  The Court added that “Shure is likely infringing the ‘806 Patent and it has failed to raise a substantial question of the patent’s validity. In addition, ClearOne is suffering irreparable harm from Shure’s infringement, and the balance of the harms and the public interest both weigh in favor of issuing an injunction against Shure’s infringing sales of the MXA910 going forward.”

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ClearOne remains confident in the merits of its case against Shure and that it will ultimately succeed on its claims, which assert infringement not only of the Graham Patent but of U.S. Patent No. 9,635,186 and U.S. Patent No. 9,264,553 (the “’553 Patent”) as well. Indeed, as ClearOne announced earlier this year, on Jan. 24, 2019, ClearOne successfully defeated Shure’s efforts to invalidate the ’553 Patent at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The litigation continues to move forward in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, and no trial date has yet been set.

Update: We received a comment from Shure on the court’s decision, which is as follows.

We are disappointed and disagree with the court’s decision, which is not a final determination on this matter and we intend to immediately appeal. We continue to believe that the ‘806 patent is invalid and that we do not infringe on the ‘806 patent and we look forward to presenting the merits of our case to a jury. This injunction does not impact any existing products currently installed. Shure is committed to ensuring best-in-class MXA910 products remain available to its customers and is prepared to modify and supply the product in a way that is compliant with the court’s order, as needed.

The Shure MXA910 details are here.

ClearOne is here.