Whether true or false, it's a whopper of a story: After spending three years trying to woo Apple, a company named Noise Free says that the Cupertino firm stole its noise cancellation technology. In a lawsuit filed last week in California court, Noise Free claims that relations were more than cordial at first: starting in 2007, the company allegedly sent Apple proprietary documents, performed presentations, offered detailed instructions, and even left fully functioning noise-cancelling demo hardware in Apple's possession, all under a non-disclosure agreement.

Then, in 2010, while still attempting to get Apple on board and still signing additional non-disclosure agreements, Noise Free allegedly had a nasty surprise: Two of the same Apple engineers who sat in on the earlier presentations had filed for their own patent on combating noise. Needless to say, Noise Free claims that the prospective Apple patent is based directly on its own tech, but the sordid story doesn't end there. Allegedly, Apple then turned around and gave Noise Free's technology to Audience, a rival firm, and then bought noise cancellation chips from Audience instead. If true, that's injury and insult in a rather neat package, since Audience supplies other smartphone makers as well. Noise Free is asking for actual damages, among a variety of other remedies from the court. Without the evidence that will likely be presented over months if not years of court deliberation, it's hard to distinguish the truth... but if this all occurred in 2010, we do wonder why the company remained silent until now.