Bose is suing Beats over patents related to their noise-cancelling headphones. The lawsuit is expected to impact Apple as well, which officially purchased Beats for $3 billion in May.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, cites the following patents in question:

  • 8,073,151: “Dynamically configurable ANR filter block topology” by Joho et. al.. Includes 30 claims (2 indep.). Was application 12/430,994. Granted 12/6/2011.
  • 8,073,150: “Dynamically configurable ANR signal processing topology” by Joho et. al.. Includes 24 claims (2 indep.). Was application 12/430,990. Granted 12/6/2011.
  • 6,717,537: “Method and apparatus for minimizing latency in digital signal processing systems” by Fang et. al. Prosecuted by Thelen Reid & Priest LLP Robbins; Steven J.. Includes 19 claims (3 indep.). Was application 10/179,930. Granted 4/6/2004.
  • 8,345,888: “Digital high frequency phase compensation” by Carreras et. al.. Includes 16 claims (3 indep.). Was application 12/750,309. Granted 1/1/2013.
  • 8,054,992: “High frequency compensating” by Sapiejewski.. Includes 23 claims (6 indep.). Was application 11/409,894. Granted 11/8/2011.

Bose is claiming that Beats has infringed on some 50 years’ worth of research of noise-cancelling technology and a large amount of patents. That includes the Beats Studio Line, which includes the new Studio Wireless Bluetooth headphones, Bose claims.

“For almost 50 years, Bose has made significant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design of proprietary technologies now implemented in its products, such as noise cancelling headphones. Bose’s current line of noise cancelling headphones, for example, embodies inventions protected by at least 36 U.S. patents and applications (22 patents and 14 pending applications),” Bose wrote in its lawsuit.

The company is seeking an injunction against continued infringement, a full account of sales of infringing devices, damages which would include court costs, determination that the infringement is willful and upwards adjustment of damages accordingly, and “other relief,” which would be determined by the court.

Both Apple and Beats have yet to comment on the lawsuit. Apple is already in court battles with Samsung and other companies, and is now expected to face Bose in the courtroom since it recently acquired Beats.

10 Responses

  1. Dial Prasad

    good deal – apple just loose 3 billion on something they could have done themselves.

  2. KW

    United Technologies will make all this obsolete with the new ear buds.

  3. agamemnus

    This lawsuit is a phony cash grab.

    I’ve had Bose noise-cancelling headphones (QuietComfort 15) since 2009 I believe. They have not made a single upgrade to their over-the-ear noise cancellation technology since then. Not a single one!

  4. Peter

    And the timing of this lawsuit– right after it was acquired by cash-hoarding Apple is no coincidence, I’m sure.

  5. John_Sellers

    Try getting any specs on the noise cancelling properties from Bose. The last I asked they told me they don’t give out that information.

    I wonder why? Could it be that in the light of 36 patents maybe the numbers are not that good?

    PS watch for a forthcoming response from an engineer that say they are the best around. At least that is what happened for my past posts.

  6. Bill Campbell

    Sound cancellation has been discovered for decades, and I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Bose that discovered it. It simply involves playing the same sound 180 degrees out of phase, effectively nullifying the sound wave. Any professional stereo installers could tell you the same. There must have been others that “invented” this technology before Bose. This is almost as pointless as all the smartphone lawsuits.

    • JK1poplar

      while you are somewhat correct in your assertion of the principle of sound cancellation. You seem to lack understanding of how this is actually achieved electronically. In real-time, the surrounding incoming sound waves, are digitized, pre-processed, calculated to offset the incoming amplitudes per sampled frequency, then remixed along with the digitized source input signal, then replayed to the user.(simplified) Then think about this: this processing has to complete before the offending noise passes thru the physical device (at the speed of sound). So Bose has been able to create a device that can digitally process incoming signals so fast that it is unnoticeable, with such a high sampling rate as to cover the human hearing range. PLEASE, next time you form an opinion on a technology, DO NOT ask a TECH, INSTALLER, or PROFESSIONAL anything. Ask an electrical engineer.

      • Bill Campbell

        I’ve been a programmer for decades; I’m fully aware of the process. It wasn’t necessary to mention how it’s mixed, nor the speed required to perform the mixing. The DSP engine likely has time to spare after processing. Besides, the technology doesn’t surround the mixing and DSP. It surrounds the actual cancellation itself. Bose simply pulled up a bunch of catch-all patents that they could use to win a lawsuit, just like Apple used catch-all patents to win their lawsuits against Samsung. That’s my gripe. They didn’t invent the *concept* so it’s not theirs. Unless Beats uses the *exact* same DSP engine and logic, it’s frivolous.

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