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NEWS: Beats in a lawsuit with Yamaha - Page 7

post #91 of 493
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by h4mm3r 0f th0r View Post

 If i have to hate anything about america then i would hate the power of their strategic minds for false and aggressive marketing to fool the masses.



Let's keep sweeping generalizations that'll likely lead to political-type discussion out of this, guys.

post #92 of 493
Originally Posted by joe View Post



Let's keep sweeping generalizations that'll likely lead to political-type discussion out of this, guys.

just related to these two companies... none else...

post #93 of 493

If Beats wins this moronic sue, it opens a lot of dangerous questions. For example think of the Sennheiser HD650/600. Apart from the color, their design couldn't be simpler: oval cups with metal grills covering the entire outer cup. It's really as simples as an open headphone gets. If I was designing a tasteful-looking pair of headphones, I'd probably go with something similar. And Sennheiser would be able to sue me, apparently.


I'm not rooting for Yamaha because I dislike Beats, as far as I know Yamaha is just trying to use an appealing design to get easy money instead of working on sound (I'm assuming). But if this goes on, it becomes completely subjective what constitutes design theft and what doesn't.

post #94 of 493
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

i was just about to say that

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality



just maybe not as obvious as yamaha's attempt thoughconfused_face.gif


Headphones that have the same general look to them, imagine that. I said it once, and I will say it again, this is pettiness. No one is going to mistake those Yamaha headphones for Beats, any more than people are going mistake those Beats for Shure.  After the ridiculousness of that Apple lawsuit, and now this, where is the line, and at one point did Yamaha cross it?


The general appearance is pretty similar, but this is a different design. Beats incorporates that swiveling flat two piece plate with a "B" into a plastic loop. The Yamaha is a fixed spherical single piece. The general fashion sense is very similar, but here again, this is so petty.


Yamaha is obviously going after the same market share as Beats, and bringing them a more refined sound with the same general appearance. But isn't this what people and companies are supposed to do, compete for market share? What is next, only one company allowed to make jeans, or t-shirts? All polo shirts look very similar, should only one company be allowed?

Edited by Billyjoegunrack - 2/15/13 at 12:36pm
post #95 of 493
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

well he is quite doing the opposite in fact
"used in every major studio"
"recovers lost data in mp3 compression"
"hear what the artist intended"
"solo has crystal clear highs"
"better than any competition at its price range"
"patent pending revolutionary driver design technology"
"no batteries required!" (as if regular headphones need a battery to run)


I had a great laugh at those lines. I didn't know they went that far with their marketing nonsense. Again, I don't have anything against Beats and people who like their headphones, but seriously, "recovers lost data in mp3 compression"??? confused.gif

post #96 of 493

Im sure Yamaha's marketing department and design team could have developed a whole new fantastic looking can period. With the great SQ they have.  

post #97 of 493

aftarall they DID tune the engine sound of the Lexus LFA, just to mention.
how does the yamaha pro series sound like btw?

post #98 of 493
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

i was just about to say that

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality



just maybe not as obvious as yamaha's attempt thoughconfused_face.gif




lol not sure if the yamaha resembles the beats or the shures resembles the beats even more. :P if you get what i mean. perhaps it's just ego issues since yamaha went ahead to include the dr...whO? slogan.

Edited by pokpokgei - 2/15/13 at 12:13pm
post #99 of 493
Originally Posted by Craigster75 View Post

I commented on this in the Yamaha PRO thread and there was a strong response.  I am in no way a fan of Beats- looks or sound.  I have also read the Yamaha PRO series sound fantastic, but  sound is not the issue.  It is one thing for a product to bear a passing resemblance to another.  In fact, I was annoyed when some commented the Denon D600 and PSB M4U2 are Beats-like in appearance because, in my opinion, they don't bear a close resemblance to Beats just because they are plastic and have folding hinges.


The reason I think the Beats suit does have merit is that the Yamaha PRO series looks so much like Beats that the argument could be made the similarity is intentional so that Yamaha can capitalize on the popularity of the Beats design.  For anyone thinking this is the big, bad conglomerate trying to squash the little upstart, Yamaha as a whole is a much larger company than the current iteration of Beats.  Don't think for a minute Yamaha didn't have design meetings where they discussed how they could make their headphones look as much like Beats as possible without appearing to be a blatant copy.

Everybody in the game right now is trying to capitalize on what Beats has done to popularize headphones. There is a boom in headphones going on right now and everyone is trying to get in on this "gold rush."  Denon with their 600, and PSB with their M4U2, are trying to steal the same market share, with similar overall designs, just like Yamaha. 

post #100 of 493

I see the argument that Beats has, but really, blow it out your arse. "You're not allowed to look like this! You're not allowed!" I just don't see very much strength in it. Can Shure sue Beats?

They just hate that Yamaha makes better products, sure the designs are similar, but it's the same with the car market. Most cars have very similar designs, but under the hood is a different story.

post #101 of 493

If Dre manages to win this the only think Yamaha will do is recase the exact same driver in a different shell, possibly only do something as simple as change the shape of the current driver housing from a circle to an oval.

post #102 of 493
Originally Posted by JuanseAmador View Post

What about them copying Shure.


Beats was out with the Studio (in 2008) before Shure had released any of its SRH over-ears (in 2009). Of course, I'm not suggesting that Shure copied Beats, or vice-versa--only that it seems unlikely Beats copied Shure, per those dates.


Originally Posted by Meddle View Post

They're only suing for $75,000 though, so I don't think profit is a major motivation.

I'm not sure where the $75,000 figure is coming from, as I haven't read the complaint in its entirety; but I did scroll down to the "PRAYER FOR RELIEF" section, and it reads as follows:


     WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that the Court enter judgment in its favor and against Defendant as follows:
     A.  Judgment be entered that Defendant has infringed the claim of the '077 Patent directly, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, and/or indirectly;
     B.  Judgment be entered that Defendant has infringed the claim of the '668 Patent directly, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, and/or indirectly;
     C.  Judgment be entered that Defendant has infringed Beats' Trade Dress pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125, and in violation of California common law, and has committed acts of unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125 and California common law;
     D.  Judgment be entered permanently enjoining Defendant and each of its officers, members, employees, owners, manages, agents, attorneys, successors, servants, subsidiaries  related entities, licensees, and assigns, and all persons acting in concert with any of the foregoing, from:
          i.  Any further acts of infringement or inducement of infringement of the '077 Patent or the '668 Patent;
          ii.  selling, offering for sale, holding for sale, importing, advertising, or promoting any merchandise, goods, or services using trade dress that infringes Beats' Trade Dress or any trade dress confusingly similar thereto; or
          iii.  doing any other act or thing that is likely to induce the belief that the Defendant's goods or services are in some way connected with Beats' goods or their respective businesses;
     E.  Judgment be entered that this case is an exceptional case under 35 U.S.C. § 284;
     F.  Defendant be held liable and ordered to account for and pay to Beats:
          i.  damages adequate to compensate Beats for Defendant's infringement of the Beats patents in an amount no less than a reasonable royalty pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284;
          ii. Defendant's respective total profits pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 289;
          iii.  treble damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284 based on Defendant's willful infringement of the Beats Patents, and pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) based on Defendant's willful infringement of Beats' Trade Dress;
          iv.  all gains, benefits, and advantages derived from the Defendant's wrongful use, misappropriation, and infringement of Beats' Trade Dress;
          v.  all losses and damages, including lost profits and costs for corrective advertising, suffered by Beats as a result of the Defendant's wrongful use and infringement of Beats' Trade Dress, including prejudgment interest and costs pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117;
          vi.  Beats' reasonable attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a); and
          vii.  Beats' pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and costs pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284 and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a);
     G.  Requiring Defendant to deliver to Beats for destruction all Infringing Headphones and any other products or other articles in its possession or control bearing Beats' Trade Dress, or any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation thereof, and all plates, molds, matrices, screens or other means of making the same; and, that the Defendant be required to recall all Infringing Headphones and any other products bearing Beats' Trade Dress from its customers and refund any monies paid for such products to its customers;
     H.  Requiring Defendant to deliver to Beats for destruction any and all stationery, circulars, catalogs, charts, brochures, advertising, labels, packages, signs, and all other material in its possession or under its control which depict the Infringing Headphones or any other infringing trade dress or any trade dress confusingly similar thereto;
     I.  Declaring that Defendant's actions complained of above constitute a violation of the California Unfair Practices Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et. seq., and enjoining Defendant from continuing such acts; 
     J.  Declaring that Defendant's actions complained of above constitute a violation of California common law trade dress infringement and unfair competition and enjoining Defendant from continuing such acts; and
     K.  Granting Beats damages and such other and future relief as this Court deems just and proper.


I'm no attorney, but it reads to me like a whole lot more than $75,000 being sought.

post #103 of 493

It is an obvious attempt to look the same but is that a crime? They look very similar, kind of like Pro Keds and Converse all star sneakers or Oreos and Hydrox cookies. I don't know if those had to be licensed from whoever was first but if they did'nt, I don't see much chance here. Unless Yamaha is calling it beats, or maybe if Yamaha infringed electrical design patents but I doubt it.

Edited by stereoguy - 2/15/13 at 1:30pm
post #104 of 493

This community has added so much to my enjoyment of music and I seldom get to contribute much back. As a lawyer I will thus ignore my instinct not to get involved in legal issues I am not a party to because I think I can shed some light on some of the questions and concerns raised in this thread, in particular as it relates to our beloved hobby.

The fact of the matter is our current legal system provides anyone with enough resources the opportunity to start a lawsuit whether it is meritorious or not. That is just the reality. This has negative consequences for both folks with limited means as well as huge corporations with almost limitless funds.

Often times under resourced parties will lose cases they should when or not even be able to go to court at all because of their limitations. Parties with lots of resources, "deep pockets", oftentimes suffer in the reverse where they will be the victims of a suit simply because they have enough money to pay. For example if there is a case with a very weak argument that company X owes $1 million in attorney may take that case and sue because the company will not want to waste time and attorneys fees even if they know they can beat a weak case when they can just pay a set amount upfront and be done with it.

In that context, the true motivations for any given lawsuit are very difficult to determine. The fact is we will never know why Beats has chosen to go to court. It could be out of principle, for strategic reasons, because they think Yamaha will settle quickly, or for some reason that has yet to be revealed.

As for the merit of the lawsuit itself a lot of posts explaining the nature of patents have actually been right on point. Whether or not an individual patent is reasonable to the average person is irrelevant. Once it is filed and granted it has the force of law. If the party who owns the patent can prove that it has been violated they are entitled to damages caused by that violation.


Going forward then, the issue is not whether the patent was reasonable but rather whether BEATS can prove it was violated. If so, Yamaha will be liable. More likely though, Yamaha will let it play out for a while because it is free publicity and eventually settle the case as long as they can keep producing the headphones. For a global conglomerate like Yamaha it will be a strict cost-benefit analysis. Even if they have to pay to settle the lawsuit that money just gets added to the ledger as a cost of doing business. As long as that amount doesn't make the entire project lose money it's good business.


The implications for our hobby are very interesting. In light of the above, one could make the case that Yamaha purposely violated the patent as a sound business strategy. Why not copy the most popular product on the market? Worst case scenario they will be sued but whatever that lawsuit ultimately costs will be worth the profits they can make off the copy plus the bonus of the free publicity from the lawsuit.

On the other side of the suit BEATS is very intelligent to go after Yamaha because if they can win a case against a corporation with a lot of resources it will scare off other patent infringers and set a precedent that their design is legally protected.

The really fascinating part is that this all arises from a patent application and its acceptance several years ago. The validity of that patent for the beats Corporation (under another company at that time obviously) was decided by a random patent clerk. I would love to know whether that person even owns a pair of real headphones and has any expertise into what really makes one pair of headphones or another "unique".

If we really want to get crazy with the speculation my dream scenario would be if the suit doesn't settle and gets really heated they're going to need experts on either side. I would love to hear those depositions and testimony as to who is a supposedly expert on headphone technology. Will it be science folks from the companies? Will it be employees of other companies? Will it be experienced reviewers on this site and others? Now that would be fun.

post #105 of 493
Interesting. Sounds similar to what apple has had suits over in recent yeas.
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