ClearOne Sues Shure For Trade Secret Misappropriation, Willful Patent Infringement—Shure Vigorously Denies Allegations

ClearOne has filed a lawsuit against Shure Incorporated for trade secret misappropriation and willful patent infringement of a third ClearOne patent—U.S. Patent No. 9,264,553—in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

This is in addition to the case currently pending in the same federal court asserting Shure’s products infringe ClearOne’s U.S. Pat. No. 9,635,186 and U.S. Pat. No. 9,813,806.

In this new lawsuit, ClearOne alleges that Shure has sought and obtained ClearOne’s trade secrets, including those relating to its Beamforming Microphone Array products, wireless microphone products, and audio DSP mixers. ClearOne alleges that Shure has used its improper access to ClearOne’s confidential trade secrets to unfairly compete in the marketplace and harm ClearOne’s sales.

Shure shared that ClearOne refers to dealer pricing information as trade secrets—a practice that Shure labeled as "dubious". 

ClearOne also alleges that Shure has willfully infringed ClearOne’s ’553 Patent by making, using, selling, and offering to sell its MXA910 and MXA310 products for use with a digital signal processor that performs acoustic echo cancellation. The ’553 Patent relates to acoustic echo cancellation performed on fixed beams and is incorporated into ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array products. 

"ClearOne is once again using litigation in the United States in an attempt to disparage Shure and recoup business losses resulting from its own failure to innovate and to provide effective solutions to the marketplace," said Mark Brunner, VP corporate and government relations, Shure. "Shure will vigorously defend against ClearOne’s meritless claims in U.S. District Court, including the allegations that Shure inappropriately had access to ClearOne dealer pricing information, which ClearOne dubiously labels a trade secret." 

"These allegations are simply further attempts to disrupt the channel," he added. "As with the previously asserted ‘186 and ‘806 patents, we believe the ‘553 patent is invalid and not infringed by Shure. We have appealed the PTAB’s recent ruling on the ‘553 patent and will continue to challenge ClearOne’s claims in the pending litigation and in this newly filed case."

Shure has already tried—and failed—to invalidate the ‘553 Patent. On January 24, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board rejected Shure’s effort to challenge the validity of the ’553 Patent through inter partes review, and on March 25, 2019, denied Shure’s request for a rehearing. ClearOne believes that Shure will be prevented from challenging the validity of the ’553 Patent during this new litigation on any basis that Shure could have raised during the IPR. On April 8, 2019, Shure filed a Notice of Appeal. Amongst other things, Shure believes the PTAB’s construction was improper. 

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages—including treble and punitive damages—for past infringement and injunctive relief to prevent the continuing infringement of ClearOne’s intellectual property.

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