Bose Corp. filed a patent-infringement action seeking to block U.S. imports of noise-canceling headphones made by Beats Electronics LLC, the company being bought by Apple Inc. (AAPL)
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 yesterday. A mirror civil suit, filed today in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, makes the same allegations and is likely to be put on hold while the ITC case is pending.
Apple agreed to buy Beats for $3 billion in May, its biggest-ever acquisition, with founders Dr. Dre and music-industry executive Jimmy Iovine joining the iPhone maker. While the deal, projected to close in the current quarter, includes Beats headphones and other hardware, Apple also is getting access to an Internet-based music streaming service.
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.
“The inventions covered by the asserted patents arose out of the inventors’ recognition of the unique technical problems associated with constructing improved high-performance noise canceling headphones,” Bose said in the ITC complaint.