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As it is described, the system is not designed to prevent direct impact from shells or shrapnel; rather, it is designed to protect a target -- such as a vehicle or building -- from the damaging effects of shockwaves from a nearby impact.
The patent is for a shockwave attenuation system, which consists of a sensor capable of detecting a shockwave-generating explosion and an arc generator that receives the signal from the sensor to ionise a small region, producing a plasma field between the target and the explosion using lasers, electricity and microwaves.
This small plasma field would differ from the surrounding environment in temperature, density and/or composition. This would provide a buffer between the target and the explosion that would hinder the shockwaves from reaching and damaging the target.