Bose sues Beats over patents on noise-canceling headphones

Bose says Beats' Studio and Studio Wireless headphones, soon to be owned by Apple, copy five of its patents.

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Bose, whose headphones are pictured here, has sued Beats for patent infringement. Sarah Tew/CNET

The next patent spat involving Apple may have nothing to do with Samsung.

Headphone and speaker maker Bose filed suit Friday against Beats, accusing the soon-to-be Apple company of infringing five patents related to noise-canceling headphones. The accused products include the Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones, and Bose has asked for financial damages and an injunction to ban the sale of infringing Beats products.

Bose said in its complaint, lodged with the US District Court in Delaware and with the US International Trade Commission, that it has "suffered and will continue to suffer damages, in an amount yet to be determined, including due to loss of sales, profits, and potential sales that Bose would have made but for Beats' infringing acts," the company's complaint said.

It added that for almost 50 years, it has "made significant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design of proprietary technologies" used in its products. Its current line of noise-canceling headphones, for instance, uses inventions protected by at least 22 US patents and 14 pending patent applications.

"Because Bose invests heavily in research and development, and because Bose has built its reputation on producing superior products through innovative technology, Bose's continued success depends in substantial part on its ability to establish, maintain, and protect its proprietary technology through enforcement of its patent rights," the company said in its complaint.

Beats declined to comment. We've contacted Apple and will update the report when we have more information.

Many technology companies have been turning to the courts of late to defend their inventions. The mobile market has seen the most high-profile litigation, including the many suits between Apple and Samsung. Bose and Beats are two of the most well-known headphone makers in the industry, benefiting from their push into higher-end products.

Apple in May said it would buy Beats for $3 billion, giving the electronics giant a popular headphones business and subscription streaming music service. Apple executives have said the company plans to put Beats "on steroids" and use its technology and expertise to give Apple "a head start" on new products for the future. The company said earlier this week during its earnings conference call that it expects the acquisition to close this quarter.

"With Beats we felt we were getting an incredible subscription service, a very rare set of talent that we think can do great things in Apple, and access to very fast growing businesses in their headphone and earphone space," Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday.

CNBC earlier reported the news.

Bose vs Beats

 

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