BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — As first reported in the Boston Business Journal last week, hearable startup Doppler Labs is suing Bose over alleged technology and trademark infringement. As part of the suit, the company claims that Bose took several meetings with the fledgling startup under the guise of forming a partnership, but then used that information to create a similar product that would compete directly with the company’s Here One wireless earbuds.
Doppler Labs Here One vs. Bose Hearphones
According to Doppler Labs, the company is said to have pursued several partnership options last year and Bose was among the first companies to respond.
As discussions between the companies progressed, Doppler Labs then says it ultimately shared its “proprietary technology, market approach and positioning, product capabilities, and product road map,” after Bose is said to have agreed that it would not disclose or use the information.
“There can be no doubt that Doppler Labs was on Bose’s radar long before Bose introduced its infringing Hearphones product. Bose’s Senior Manager of Idea & Portfolio Management, Chris Miller, was one of the first “backers” of Doppler Labs’ Kickstarter campaign, pledging $179 on June 2, 2015 – the day the Kickstarter campaign went live – to be one of the first to get Doppler Labs’ Here Active Listening system. Now, on information and belief, it appears that this was not an investment by Mr. Miller simply to get a new and differentiated type of audio product than Bose could deliver, for his personal use, but rather an attempt to gain early access to a competitor’s technology. Mr. Miller’s Here Active Listening system purchase was shipped on February 10, 2016, at which time Mr. Miller purchased a second Here Active Listening system days later, affording Bose a long period of time to understand the design and features of the Here Active Listening system, wireless earbuds, and companion mobile application.”–Excerpt from Doppler Labs vs. Bose lawsuit filed in US District Court
Hearable Maker Sues For Damages; Demands “Formal Retraction”
Even though Bose has only so far had a limited release of its Hearphones product, Doppler Labs is suing the company for damages, and requests that Bose issue a “formal retraction” through a nationwide email campaign, as well as “a full-page advertisement in the appropriate publications.”
It’s still unclear whether Doppler Labs will be able to prove its claims against Bose, which, as pointed out by an article in engadget, has been making active listening products for more than 25 years.