Bose Sues Beats Over Noise

One company that probably didn't congratulate Beats on its recent $3 billion Apple acquisition is Bose, which sued Beats this week for infringing on its noise-cancelling technology.

Bose on Friday filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC), asking the agency to block the importation of Beats headphones that infringe on Bose patents. It also filed suit in Delaware district court.

Specifically, Bose argues that the Beats Studio headphones infringe on the active noise reduction (ANR) technology found in Bose QuietComfort 20 and QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, which is covered in five Bose-held patents. But Bose reserves the right to expand the scope of the suit.

'Beats has designed the infringing ANR functionality to be used automatically when a user is listening to music, and instructs a user on how to implement ANR functionality when a user simply desires noise reduction,' the complaint says. 'Thus, Beats specifically encourages users to use the infringing functionality.'

Also named in the suit are Fugang Electronic and PCH International Ltd., which manufacture and import Beats headphones, respectively.

It's unclear if Bose and Beats tried to reach an agreement prior to the filing of these suits.

Apple announced in May that it will pay $3 billion for Beats Electronics and its Beats Music streaming-music service, making it Apple's largest acquisition to date. The purchase price is $2.6 billion, plus $400 million that will vest over time. As part of the deal, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple said this week that it expects the Beats deal to close later this year.

For more, see PCMag's review of Beats by Dr. Dre Studio and Beats Studio Wireless.

In PCMag's latest Readers Choice' survey, Bose was the winner in all major categories, including headphones.


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