Bose Sues Apple Over Noise Cancelling Patents
Apple decided to buy Beats in May for a reputed $3 billion deal. Now, two months later, it is facing a patent lawsuit from Bose – the company that is the hallmark in all things sound. Bose alleges that the technology that Beats uses in its headphones which make it so special is the same technology used by Bose in its own line of speakers and headphones, and other sound gadgets. Bose is crying foul over the fact that Beats’ noise cancelling technology breaches the boundaries of five of its own patents and the company’s patent lawyers are all gearing up to file a lawsuit against Apple/Beats for patent infringement.
Apple, Beats deal not approved yet
Apple has been steadily trying to improve its markets post Steve Jobs. The tech giant has decided to delve into the world of sound and sound related gadgets. Bose is the undoubted ruler in this field, and Beats Technologies has too made a name for itself but obviously not enough to derail Bose from its pedestal. Apple’s acquisition of Beats must have come as a thorn in the side for Bose.
Whether the recent patent lawsuit is a result of that discomfort or something else, the war between the two leading names has definitely got the industry up and watching. Apple has yet to gain regulatory approval on its deal with Beats and while it is grappling with that situation, its patent lawyers will be put to test again with the threat of a lawsuit from Bose.
Apple’s recent run ins with the patent authorities have proven less than successful. It very famously lost a patent infringement case in China where its patent lawyers could not protect the SIRI 4 technology from local tech companies. Then, the USPTO decided to look over Apple’s claim that the ‘Touch ID’ name be registered as a trademark for its touch recognition software used in its phones.
The USPTO said that the trademark name that Apple’s patent lawyers were after was very similar to the trademark name ‘Kronos Touch ID’ used by an US watch company, and hence decided to discard the trademark application. In this dismal run up that Apple’s patent lawyers have shown so far, the threat of a patent infringement lawsuit that Bose is talking about looms large. If Apple for some reason loses this patent too, then the acquisition of Beats Technologies may very well prove to be a dud.
Bose aims for the jugular
Bose is going for the jugular when it comes to filing a patent lawsuit against Apple/Beats. The product they have targeted is the $300 Studio range from Beats which is a line of wireless cans. Bose’s patent lawyers argue that the technology used in making the Studio wireless cans takes inputs from five patents that have been awarded to Bose and ‘swipes information’ from each of them in blatant case of patent infringement. Bose’s patent lawyers argue that the company has infringed upon over fifty years’ worth of research and technological knowhow that has gone into making the noise cancelling technology that Beats has used in its Studio range.
The company Beats Technologies is also facing a $20 million lawsuit from MOG founder David Hyman which Beats had earlier purchased. According to the claim, the company had adopted an incentive plan during Hyman’s tenure which entitles Hyman to compensation and 2.5% of the company’s “currently outstanding equity interests,” amounting to around $20 million.