The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued a decision regarding Shure’s U.S. Patent No. 9,565,493 (the “’ 493 Patent”). However, this most recent legal battle confirms that both ClearOne and Shure claimed victories.
The patent was Shure’s attempt to patent aspects of beamforming microphone arrays (BMAs), a technology that ClearOne says to have pioneered in its ceiling tile mics.
Shure obtained the ’493 Patent in 2017 with 40 claims directed at circular BMA arrays and ceiling-tile-shaped BMAs. ClearOne challenged the patent in 2019 based partly on its own earlier patents.
After deliberation, the PTAB confirmed two of Shure’s 40 patent claims, recognizing “certain inventive and innovative aspects in Shure’s nested ring microphone design” (according to Shure’s press release). The PTAB also granted Shure 11 new amended claims for the ’493 patent “that protect the structure and form factor of Shure’s MXA910 product line.”
The newly amended patent includes 13 claims total.
“Rather than 40 claims, the ’493 Patent now has just 13 narrower claims. ClearOne is confident that its products do not infringe those claims, and we believe that the ’493 Patent in its present wounded form has no real significance in the market,” said ClearOne Chair and CEO Zee Hakimoglu.
ClearOne says its BMA technology is protected by at least a dozen patents and pending patent applications. ClearOne has asserted that Shure infringes several ClearOne patents, including U.S. Patent No. 9,813,806, which Shure is preliminarily enjoined from infringing.
The case number at the PTAB is IPR2019-00683.