ClearOne Waging Legal War to Defend Patent

Biamp, QSC and Shure facing ClearOne patent infringement lawsuit for system that combines echo cancellation and beamforming microphone arrays.

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ClearOne Waging Legal War to Defend Patent

ClearOne earned a patent for its system that combines echo cancellation with a beamforming microphone array.

ClearOne is standing strong behind a patented technology that combines echo cancellation and a beamforming microphone array, saying Biamp, QSC and Shure are infringing upon its innovation with copycats and knockoffs.

ClearOne developed its beamforming microphone conferencing system, which uses a small beamforming array to replace up to a dozen individual mics, in 2010.

The company brought the Beamforming Microphone Array audio conferencing system to market in 2012 and released a second generation in 2016. The product combines beamforming, AEC and adaptive steering into one device. The second generation connects with ClearOne’s Converge Pro 2 DSP mixers.

ClearOne earned patent number 9,635,186, entitled “Conferencing Apparatus that Combines a Beamforming Microphone Array with an Acoustic Echo Canceller, last week from the U.S. Patent Office and filed infringement lawsuits against Biamp, QSC and Shure for their part in infringing on that patent.

ClearOne filed for injunctive relief, saying Biamp, QSC and Shure must stop selling the products that violate the patent. A judge will rule on the matter.

“ClearOne and its inventors and engineers have invested millions of dollars and hours of effort in research and development on this important technology,” said Alexander C.D. Giza of Hueston Hennigan LLP, the firm representing ClearOne, in a statement. “And as of Tuesday, they have a U.S. patent on this invention. ClearOne is entitled to have its patent and innovation respected by the industry.”

Shure debuted its Microflex Advance portfolio of networked ceiling and table array microphones, audio interfaces and control software for conferencing at Integrated Systems Europe 2017.

In a statement, Shure officials say leadership “strongly believes the accusations are without merit,” noting Shure filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in Federal District Court in Chicago that rules ClearOne’s patent invalid “due to the existence of prior art, and that Shure products (alone or in combination with other Shure or third party products) do not infringe” on ClearOne’s patent.

ClearOne filed a similar action in Utah that Shure officials say “is also without merit.”

“Shure intends to vigorously defend itself in this matter and protect its intellectual property, products and customers,” according to the statement.

Biamp and Shure created an integrated compatibility between Biamp’s Tesira audio processors and software to support Shure’s MicroFlex advance solutions. QSC has partnered with Shure to integrate the Q-SYS Platform with the Microflex Advance.

Biamp global public relations manager Amanda Roe says company officials are “aware of the lawsuit and are currently analyzing the matter in order to respond accordingly.”

A QSC spokesman says in a statement that company leadership “disagrees with ClearOne’s assertions, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter.”

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Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering before moving into his current role. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011.

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Comments

  • Erich Friend says:

    So, let me get this right: Whenever someone connects two boxes together with wires it can be come a new patent that prevents anyone else for connecting similar boxes together? That’s NUTS! Phase array microphones have been around since the early 1980’s, as have automatic mixers. I can’t see how they could claim there isn’t prior art and implementation. I hope those with resources like Biamp and Shure pool their efforts and stomp Clearone into the ground on this issue.

    • Ken Pike says:

      The article states that “the company (ClearOne) brought the Beamforming Microphone Array audio conferencing system to market in 2012…” This statement suggest ClearOne introduced the technology; which is incorrect. LifeSize brought the “beamforming microphone array audio conferencing system” to market in 2005, not ClearOne. See LifeSize patent US7720232B2 filed in 2005 and granted in 2010. Case over!

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