Bose sues Beats over noise-cancelling headphones

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Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats won't be finalized until later this quarter, but the company should already feel right at home under the Apple umbrella. Apple is of course no stranger to big-time patent litigation, and now comes word via Bloomberg that Beats has its own patent problem to deal with.

Late last week, Bose filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Beats alleging that the noise-cancelling headphones sold by the Dr. Dre-backed company infringe upon their own patents.

The Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless headphones use technology covered by five patents, Bose said in a complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington July 24. A mirror lawsuit, filed the next day in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, makes the same allegations and is likely to be put on hold while the ITC case is pending.

Bose, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, said it began developing its noise-canceling technology almost four decades ago and started selling its QuietComfort headphones in 2000. The technology in the latest patents, used in more recent models of Bose headphones, involves the use of sound waves to cancel out unwanted noise.

As for the damages Bose is seeking, the complaint didn't specify a precise amount, but it did note that infringing Beats products have caused Bose to suffer tremendously in the marketplace due to lost sales and lost profits.

Bose's complaint reads in part:

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.

Beats, as expected, had no comment on the lawsuit.

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