Patent Board Narrows Shure’s BMA Patent


ClearOne (NASDAQ:CLRO), a leading global provider of audio and visual communication solutions, announced that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued a decision today significantly limiting Shure’s U.S. Patent No. 9,565,493 (the “’493 Patent”).  The ’493 Patent was Shure’s attempt to patent aspects of beamforming microphone arrays (BMAs), a technology that ClearOne has pioneered. 

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 in part on its own earlier patents as prior art to Shure.  The PTAB largely agreed with ClearOne.  Today’s decision cancels 38 of the 40 claims originally in the ’493 Patent.  The two surviving original claims are narrow dependent claims relating to circular BMA arrays.  Shure also lost all of the original claims directed at ceiling-tile-shaped BMAs in the ’493 Patent and was forced to replace all eleven such claims with eleven new narrower claims.

“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’s 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 and which was a key piece of prior art against the ’493 Patent in today’s decision.  “This is another significant victory for ClearOne,” added Hakimoglu.

The case number at the PTAB is IPR2019-00683, which can be viewed here.