August 23rd Archive: Q&A IN RESPONSE TO RECENT U.S. COURT RULING ON SHURE MXA910
A federal court in the United States has preliminarily found that MXA910 Ceiling Arrays purchased after August 23, 2019 cannot lawfully be used in a drop-ceiling mounted configuration within the United States, and Shure cannot presently ship MXA910s from the United States to other countries if they are to be used in such a configuration. A drop ceiling mounting configuration is where an MXA910 is installed in a drop ceiling in place of a ceiling tile such that the MXA910 is flush with the surrounding ceiling tiles, such as shown below.
Shure is presently only offering the 60 cm model of its MXA910 for sale from or delivery into the United States. This model is fully certified and has traditionally been offered in European and Asian markets. This slightly smaller version is lawful to be used with hard ceilings, or suspended from a VESA pole or suspension wiring, but is not lawful for use in a drop ceiling mounted configuration in the United States, and is also not safe for such installation using larger North American ceiling grids. The Court has further ruled that it would be unlawful to use adapters of any type in an attempt to adapt the smaller MXA910 model for use in the larger 24” ceiling grids customary to the United States.
Shure is working to develop and certify a new model MXA910 that will allow for installation using a drop ceiling grid, and that is compliant with the Court’s Order. This new model should be available in the coming months. If you have any further questions, please contact us by completing the form below.
This ruling relates to an ongoing patent dispute between Shure and ClearOne, specifically ClearOne's '806 patent which was issued in November 2017.
To help you understand in more detail what this ruling means, please refer to the following Q&A, which may be updated if further clarification is received from the Court.
What is Shure’s official response?
While Shure disagrees with the Court’s decision to grant the preliminary injunction, the Court’s order has a limited scope and does not affect most uses of the MXA910. Additionally, Shure continues to believe its products do not infringe ClearOne’s patent, and we are confident the patent is invalid. We look forward to presenting our case to a jury.
Which countries are affected?
This preliminary injunction only affects our customers in North and South America who receive the MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone from our distribution center in Wheeling, IL, United States.
The preliminary injunction will not affect customers in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, who receive the MXA910 from our distribution centers outside of the Americas. In these regions, the MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone can continue to be marketed, sold and installed without restrictions.
Is Shure prohibited from selling MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones?
No. The Court’s Order does not affect mounting of the MXA910 in pole mount, cable suspension mount, and hard ceiling mount configurations. By its own terms, the preliminary injunction only applies to flush-mount drop ceiling installation of MXA910s which are supplied from the U.S., i.e., Shure’s distribution center in Wheeling, IL, United States.
Shure has withdrawn the 24” model of the MXA910 from sale with immediate effect and no further shipments will be made from our Wheeling, IL distribution center.
Shure is presently only offering the 60 cm model of its MXA910 for sale from or delivery into the United States. This model is fully certified and has traditionally been offered in European and Asian markets.
This slightly smaller version is approved to be used with hard ceilings, or suspended from a VESA pole or suspension wiring, but is not approved for use in a drop ceiling mounted configuration in the United States (as depicted above), and is also not safe for such installation using larger North American ceiling grids.
The Court has further ruled that it would be prohibited to use adapters of any type in an attempt to adapt the smaller MXA910 model for use in the larger 24” ceiling grids customary to the United States.
Is this a final court ruling?
No. A preliminary injunction is a temporary procedural ruling—it does not constitute a finding of patent infringement—and only lasts through the duration of the case. No final determination has been made by the Court. Ultimately, a jury will decide the merits of the case, and Shure remains confident that it will prevail.
Do units that are currently installed in the US need to be removed?
No. This injunction does not impact any existing products currently installed.
The Court’s Order regarding the preliminary injunction makes clear that it does not impact any existing products currently installed, regardless of the mounting configuration.
Which mounting options continue to be available within the U.S.?
In the U.S., the Court’s Order allows the MXA910 to be marketed, sold, and installed as a suspension mount, pole mount, or hard ceiling installation. The preliminary injunction only prohibits flush-mount installation in drop ceilings.
Shure is actively developing an MXA910 model that will permit use with a 24 inch ceiling grid in accordance with the Court’s order, and we expect this model to be available in the very near future.
Which mounting options continue to be available outside the Americas?
Outside of the Americas, the MXA910 will continue to be available in all product variations and can be installed in all mounting configurations without restrictions.
Is Shure making any changes to the product design or mounting configurations?
Regarding the one affected mounting configuration, drop ceiling mounting, Shure is working diligently to make appropriate, and likely minor, modifications to the MXA910 product line to support drop ceiling mounting in a manner that complies with the Court’s order, as needed. We intend to implement this solution quickly.
Will Shure continue to support existing drop ceiling installations of MXA910s?
Yes. Existing installations of MXA910s are not affected by this injunction. Moreover, the Court specifically recognized Shure’s ability to continue to support MXA910 products previously sold and installed in drop ceiling configurations. Thus, Shure will continue to support already deployed products, in any mounting configuration, with future firmware and feature updates, as well as service and replacements as needed.
Does this affect other Shure products?
No. All other Shure products are entirely unaffected by this matter and continue to be available and shipped as normal.
What happens next?
We continue to believe that the ‘806 patent is invalid and that we do not infringe on the ‘806 patent and we look forward to presenting the merits of our case to a jury.
In the meantime, Shure is committed to supporting our valued customers in the United States who are affected by this preliminary injunction. Shure is actively developing an MXA910 model that will permit use with a 24 inch ceiling grid in accordance with the Court’s order, and we expect this model to be available in the very near future.
In compliance with the Court’s order, we will also update many of our sales and marketing materials, product-related documentation, collateral, websites, digital media, and any other materials that currently promote the MXA910 in its flush-mount configuration. However, as stated, Shure will continue to support previously installed MXA910 products regardless of mounting configuration, as expressly permitted by the Court.
What is your message to customers impacted by this?
Our priority remains serving our customers with an uninterrupted supply of the best-in-class products they have come to expect from us.
The MXA910 was launched by Shure in 2016 and has since been installed in tens of thousands of customers’ premises in enterprises, educational and healthcare institutions. We will continue to innovate and develop on this platform and are committed to bringing new versions with new features to the market.
The Shure brand has become synonymous with high-quality reliable audio products throughout the world. We have long been at the forefront of innovation, obtaining well over 100 U.S. patents, and have had many industry firsts over the years, including our award-winning MXA910.
We will not allow ClearOne’s litigiousness to curtail our innovation or service. We are confident that we don’t infringe ClearOne’s patents and that its patents at issue in the litigation are invalid, which we intend to prove to a jury by the end of this process. This litigation is not only about protecting Shure, but also our customers and our innovative products.
I have other questions that are not answered here. Who do I contact?
Shure will provide the highest level of support, guidance, and needed resources to address any inquiries or concerns from our customers. Please submit any questions not addressed above by completing the form below.
Alternatively, please don't hesitate to contact your Shure representative for support.