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ClearOne, Shure court battle continues with latest beamforming array tech ruling

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The latest judgment handed down by the U.S. District Court of Delaware denies Shure a temporary restraining order against ClearOne

AV communications provider ClearOne is declaring victory today in its ongoing patent-infringement court battle with microphone manufacturer, Shure, over the use of beamforming array technology.

ClearOne, in a press release issued today that outlines the series of court actions, highlights the Report and Recommendation issued by the Honorable Christopher J. Burke of the U.S. District Court of Delaware recommending the denial of Shure’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the sale of ClearOne’s Huddle-compatible Ceiling Tile Beamforming Array (“BMA CTH”) products. 

It is the latest round in a years-long dispute between Shure and ClearOne over the use of beamforming microphone array technology that began in 2016 when Shure debuted its MXA910 ceiling array microphone. Shortly after the microphone’s debut, ClearOne filed a patent application for beamforming microphone array technology followed by a cease and desist order to Shure in 2017 based on that filing. Shure, citing the order as baseless, filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of ClearOne’s patent.

According to ClearOne’s statement, in November 2019, ClearOne announced its COLLABORATE Versa Pro CT product offering, which combines the BMA CTH with the CONVERGE Huddle audio DSP for small- to medium-sized rooms. ClearOne began selling this product offering in December 2019.  Then, in February 2020, ClearOne announced the COLLABORATE Versa Room CT and Versa Lite CT product offerings, which also include the BMA CTH and require no external DSP.  ClearOne anticipates sales of these product offerings to begin later this quarter.

On April 14, Shure filed an emergency Motion to stop ongoing and future sales of ClearOne’s BMA CTH products.  Shure’s Motion asserted design patent infringement claims against ClearOne’s BMA CTH products and argued that Shure will be irreparably harmed by having to compete with those products.  Judge Burke rejected Shure’s Motion, holding that Shure had failed to show that it would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief and that ClearOne had raised a “substantial question” as to the validity of the patent Shure asserts against ClearOne, D865,723 (the “’723 patent”).

 “Shure strategically filed this lawsuit in Delaware federal court as a reaction to the mounting defeats it has suffered in the legal proceedings Shure initiated against ClearOne in Illinois federal court and before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”),” said Zee Hakimoglu, CEO and Chair of ClearOne in a statement. “It hasn’t worked. The first patent Shure asserted against ClearOne in Delaware federal court is now the subject of inter partes review before the PTAB, and all proceedings regarding that patent in Delaware federal court have been stayed.

“Shure then asserted another patent, the ’723 patent, against ClearOne and asked the Delaware federal court to grant a temporary restraining order prohibiting the continued sale of the BMA CTH included in the new Versa Lite and Versa Room products,” Hakimoglu continued. ” That, too failed. We are pleased that the Court saw through Shure’s attempt to prevent the entry of our innovative and disruptive new products and thereby block our growth. ClearOne will continue providing new and exciting solutions for its customers, while ensuring that competitors like Shure are held to account when they do not respect our intellectual property rights.”

In an official statement in answer to this latest court judgement, Shure said: ““Attempting to confuse the market, ClearOne continues to publicize every play by play of this litigation, like this recent decision, no matter how inconsequential. Of importance here is Shure’s track record of innovation and market leadership, and ClearOne’s efforts to unlawfully imitate Shure’s products.  Shure’s request for a preliminary injunction against ClearOne’s BMA CT and BMA CTH products remains pending and will be decided later this year. We also look forward to presenting our underlying case in Court of ClearOne’s infringement of Shure’s valuable intellectual property.”

The initial court filings continue to wind their way through the courts, with a ruling anticipated later this year.


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