Audio giant Bose lays trade complaint against Phitek

American audio equipment company Bose has made a complaint to the International Trade Commission in Washington over the alleged infringement of two headphone patents by local company Phitek and its customers Panasonic, Audio-Technica and Creative.

Bose US spokesman Jonathan Previtera confirms that Bose has lodged a claim, saying that the complaint is comprehensive and sets forth the Bose position. He says Bose has made a significant investment in the research, development, engineering and design of the proprietary technologies found in its headphones over the last 30 years, and that the company is committed to protecting this investment and defending the patents it owns. Previtera would not comment further on the case.

Phitek chief executive Mark Donaldson says that Phitek and its customers are "vigorously defending the complaint".

"The strength of the intellectual property rights being asserted here, from our point of view, are very weak," says Donaldson. "We see the complaint as being very much unfounded."

He says one of the patents Bose is referring to in the complaint was overturned by the US Patent Office last week. Its European sister-patent was also overturned recently by the European Patent Office after pressure from Sennheiser, he says.

Phitek develops analogue and digital signal processing technologies. Since 2003, it has developed a range of audio enhancement solutions based on its Active Noise Rejection, Virtual Surround Sound and psycho-acoustic Low Frequency Extension technologies.

The company has sent out three press releases in the last week, announcing the adoption of its V3D theatre surround sound technology by Thales Avionics, the adoption of its noise cancellation headphones by Finnair, as well as announcing the 200,000th installation of its patented SmartJack technology.

Phitek is headquartered in Auckland, with operating offices and production facilities in Hong Kong, California, Canada, Japan and China. All design and engineering is done locally, while manufacturing is done in China.

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