In the third of our five-part series that looks into the music industry and its active patenting scenario, we dedicate this blog to the giant Amar G. Bose – the founder of Bose Corporation. Every person who understands music will know of Bose’s contribution towards creating the most beautifully captured, noise-free speakers and audio systems. From rich sound emanating from tabletop radios to noise-cancelling headphones that have given fliers a relaxed journey in the air, Bose Inc. has some of the best audio technology to pride in.
He bought a classy looking hi-fi audio set, turned it on and turned it off in five minutes. And that triggered into frenetic research and understanding of audio systems and acoustics which developed into what we today know as Bose Corporation. Founded by former MIT professor, Late Amar G. Bose in 1964, Bose Corporation is best known for creating a revolution in car audio systems. Over the years, the company has been pumping back its earnings into its research activities and inventing newer and better audio techniques and devices. It is no wonder that Bose’s audio systems are a rage and its patents are well protected.
If there’s any doubts on its research activities in the audio products domain, then the chart below should dispel them:
General Motors gives the boost
The story to create world famous audio products began its narration when Bose was just 13 years old. But it was his collaboration with General Motors that kindled the flame into a raging fire for research in this arena.
It was in 1979 when Bose Corporation presented its vehicle audio system ideas to General Motors. With a heads up from GM, Bose Corporation spent $13 million in the next four years to create audio systems that would adapt to the vehicle’s acoustic environment. The successful findings had Bose Corporation designing special audio systems for General Motor’s Cadilac, Buick and Oldsmobile vehicles. Over a period of time, Bose Corporation became the sought after vehicle audio system provider for Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes Benz and Mazda. A telling tale of its collaboration with Honda was that the client expected Bose to ensure that its product failure rate did not exceed 30 parts per million. For Bose, its dedicated engineers ensured this exacting demand was met with ease. By 1995, Bose’s car audio systems grew to become a 25% revenue earner for the company.
Popular audio products
2004 iPod plays to the crowd
Bose’s SoundDock digital music system (US 7,277,765) became the sound standard for iPod speaker systems, allowing iPod owners to listen unrestrained by earbuds and share their music with others.
2003 Breakthrough for musicians
The Personalized Amplification System by Bose (US 7,260,235) allows musicians to finally hear their performance as the audience does: clearly, distinctly and without many of the inherent problems—and much of the equipment—involved in live amplified music.
2001 ADAPTiQ audio calibration system
Bose solves a nagging sound reproduction problem: the acoustical impact of a room’s dimensions, contents, speaker placement and more. After an easy, one-time setup, advanced circuitry automatically makes adjustments so a Lifestyle system consistently delivers a quality Bose performance.
1975 Bookshelf speaker
Lifelike sound—now in a bookshelf-size speaker. The 301® Direct/Reflecting® speaker system combines detailed performance, versatility and affordability to become one of the world’s top-selling speakers for a number of years.
Bose protects its patents with its life
Bose vs. Harman
It is a well-known fact that Bose Inc. prizes its patents and can scathe anyone who tries to infringe upon them. Audio manufacturers are known to have taken great care to ensure that they have side-stepped Bose Inc. However, Harman International Industries seems to have pressed its luck a little too far with Bose, learning its lesson the hard way.
Bose found Harman’s loudspeaker subsidiaries, JBL Inc. Infiniti Systems Corporation, infringing upon its patents through the use of elliptical plastic ports in some of its speaker models. One fine September morning in 2010, Harman found itself slapped with a $5.7 million judgment and an injunction against producing or selling the products that comprised the disputed feature.
Bose vs. Beats
And now, two days ago on July 25th, Bose filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Beats in the Delaware Federal District Court. Bose has petitioned that Beats be refrained from importing its noise cancelling headphones from China to the US, alleging that these products infringe five of its patents. With this new development, the Apple-Beats collaboration is likely to face a setback, while Apple will now have to face a new opponent at court apart from Samsung – Bose Corp.
(Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BoseAE2.JPG)