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Apple's Beats, Bose settle patent spat over noise-canceling tech

Bose filed suit against Beats in July, accusing the rival headphone and speaker maker of infringing five patents related to noise-canceling headphones.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read

Bose filed suit against Apple's Beats over headphone patents in July. CNET

Bose and Apple's Beats have agreed to settle a patent lawsuit related to noise-canceling headphones that was filed by Bose in July.

In a court filing in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, attorneys for the companies said "they have settled their respective claims" and want to dismiss the case. Both parties will be responsible for their own costs, expenses and attorneys' fees, they said.

The companies didn't disclose any information about the settlement.

Apple declined to comment. A Bose spokeswoman said "the issue has been resolved, and terms aren't being disclosed." She declined to provide any further information.

Headphone and speaker maker Bose filed suit against Beats in July, accusing the (at the time, soon-to-be) Apple company of infringing five patents related to noise-canceling headphones. The accused products included the Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones, and Bose 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 had "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."

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.

Apple, meanwhile, in May agreed to buy Beats for $3 billion, giving the electronics giant a popular headphone business and subscription streaming music service. The acquisition brought Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre to Apple's management team, and Apple said it would continue to use the Beats brand. Beats controls about 60 percent of the $1 billion premium headphone market, according to NPD Group, and it has proved popular with everyone from celebrities to tweens.

The deal closed at the beginning of August, and Apple has started promoting the music service with current iTunes users and prominently featuring the headphones in its online store. However, the company may change the Beats brand for the music service, instead folding the streaming offering into its iTunes product.

Meanwhile, Apple blog MacRumors on Friday reported that Apple planned to remove Bose products from its stores.

Apple declined to comment about the report. Bose didn't immediately respond to requests for comment about the issue.

The two companies' feud has spilled over to professional sports. The NFL, which has a deal with Bose, recently banned football players from wearing Beats headphones. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed that he was fined $10,000 for wearing his pink Beats to last Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Beats flaunts gold version of Studio Wireless headphones, Pill speaker (pictures)

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