The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a judgment Friday affirming a January 2019 decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office confirming the patentability of ClearOne’s beamforming microphone array.
Shure challenged the validity of the so-called ’553 Patent through the inter partes review process in the Patent and Trademark Office 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,” said ClearOne chairwoman and CEO Zee Hakimoglu in a statement.
Shure’s decision to ask the Patent and Trial Board to reconsider its decision “backfired,” she says, “as the PTAB only explained Shure’s errors in even greater detail.” Shure appealed the decision to the Federal Circuit, which affirmed the PTAB’s decision after the sides argued the case in Washington, D.C.
“The Federal Circuit has essentially dealt a knock-out blow to Shure’s campaign against ClearOne’s ’553 Patent in the PTO,” says Hakimoglu in the ClearOne announcement. “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. This is another significant victory for ClearOne,” she said.
Shure officials released a statement today, saying they are “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,” the company’s statement says. “We look forward to presenting our case to a jury later this year.”
ClearOne vs. Shure Patent Battle Continues
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,” said Hakimoglu in the ClearOne statement.
ClearOne’s BMA technology is protected by at least a dozen patents and pending patent applications. The ’553 Patent is directed at ClearOne’s 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.
“This ruling has no impact on the availability of any of our offerings, including the MXA910W-A,” said Shure officials in the company’s statement today. “As always, our top priority remains providing an uninterrupted supply of innovative products to our customers.”