The $3 billion price-tag that Apple paid for Beats Music could get even steeper in light of a sweeping patent lawsuit filed on Friday against the headphone maker by speaker maker Bose.
In a complaint filed in Delaware federal court, Bose claimed that Beats’ “Studio Wireless” and other brands infringe on five patents related to noise canceling technology, and it is seeking damages and an injunction to stop Beats from selling the headphones.
In particular, Bose pointed to a user manual published by Beats that appears to show the noise-canceling feature in dispute. Here’s an image from the manual:
The patents in question were issued between 2004 and 2013, and include US Patent 6,717,537 for “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems” and US Patent 8,345,888 for “Digital High Frequency Phase Compensation.”
The complaint also provides a history of Bose’s work in developing active noise reduction (“ANR”), “a technique to reduce unwanted noise by introducing a second sound source that destructively interferes with the unwanted noise. ANR headphones typically use at least one microphone to detect unwanted ambient noise.”
Beats, now owned by Apple, can attempt to defeat the lawsuit by showing that Bose’s patents are obvious or by showing that its headphones don’t use the technology in question.
Here’s a copy of the lawsuit, which was spotted by PriorSmart: