Bose has brought a complaint against Beats Electronics in Delaware today (July 25th), where both companies are incorporated -- Bose also names Beats Electronic International Limited, an arm of the company incorporated in Ireland, a common tactic for businesses to lower their tax burden -- alleging that Beats has infringed on ambient noise canceling technology. Bose names Beats' Studio and Studio Wireless products specifically in the suit. Bose also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission.
Bose explains in its complaint (in full at bottom) that its noise-cancellation technology was inspired by a flight taken in 1978 by company founder Dr. Amar Bose, who was disappointed in the headphones provided by the airline. The trip led Bose to begin development on his "active noise reduction" idea, which counters ambient noise in an environment by listening via microphone and producing "sound waves of reverse phase," as the complaint states, to counter that noise. The technology was then used by the U.S. Army and Air Force, beginning in 1986, releasing a commercial product three years later for sale to the aviation industry. Bose then began selling to consumers its "QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling" (A.N.C.) product in 2000, iterating a new version every three years up until 2009.
Bose alleges that Beats' products infringe on five of the 27 patents and pending patents used in its A.N.C. line, covering the following, all used in Bose's QC20 headphone set:
-- "Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems”
-- “Dynamically Configurable ANR Signal Processing Topology”
-- “Dynamically Configurable ANR Filter Block Technology”
-- “High Frequency Compensating”
-- “Digital High Frequency Phase Compensation”
Bose is seeking an award of damages against the patents as well as attoneys' and legal fees for the case, and a precise accounting of any other infringement found against Beats.
Beats itself is fighting its own product battle as it attempts to combat the distributed network of counterfeiters in Asia.
A representative for Beats said the company does not comment on legal claims. A request for comment from Bose was not immediately returned.