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Bose Picks A Patent Fight With Beats Over Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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Bose has sued soon-to-be-Apple-owned Beats over patents it holds related to noise-cancelling headphones, according to a new report from CNBC. The new suit means that Apple has a brand new patent battleground, should the Beats acquisition go through as planned, in addition to its ongoing litigation with Samsung and others. The full complaint is listed on Priorsmart, and lists Beat Electronics and Beats Electronics International as defendants.

Bose alleges that Beats has infringed on 50 years’ worth of research, development and engineering of noise cancelling tech, and that its current lineup of these devices incorporates “at least 36 U.S. patents and applications,” broken down into 22 granted patents and 14 applications currently undergoing review. Beats products named as having infringed upon Bose’s IP include the Beats Studio line, which include the new Studio Wireless Bluetooth headphones.

In the filing, Bose also includes a brief history of the development of its tech, which began in 1978 when company founder and engineer Dr. Amar Bose was dissatisfied with his airline headphones and decided to develop better ones that would cut out cabin noise. Bose cites the QuietComfort line of consumer headphones, as well as a product history that includes the development of military specific headphones as part of the grounds for its complaint.

The specific patents Bose lists in the complaint include United States Patent No. 6,717,537, called “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems,” United States Patent No. 6,717,537, or “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems,” and United States Patent No. 8,073,151: “Dynamically Configurable ANR Filter Block Technology,” to name just a few. In total, there are five counts of infringement against five Bose patents named in the suit, which are supposedly violated by Beats’ Studio line.

Bose is seeking from the court an injunction against continued infringement, a full account of sales of infringing devices, damages including court costs, determination that the infringement is willful and upwards adjustment of damages accordingly, and “other relief” to be determined by the court.

We’ve reached out to both Apple and Bose and will update this story as more information becomes available.

The full complaint from PACER can be found below:

Bose v. Beats Civil Complaint

Update: Here’s the official statement from Bose provided to TechCrunch on the filing –

The filing is comprehensive and explains our position, and as a matter of practice, we don’t comment on on-going litigation. We can share that for over 30 years, Bose has made significant investments in the research, development, engineering and design of the proprietary technologies found in our headphones. Bose’s patented technologies enable the exclusive performance found in our QuietComfort® Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones. We are committed to protecting our investment, protecting our customers, and defending the patents we own.

Article updated to note that Apple’s Beats acquisition is not yet complete.