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Bose and Beats settle noise cancellation patent dispute, avoid courtroom battle

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Bose and Beats are engaged in a very public battle as both headphone makers vie for exposure, but their feud won't be carrying over into courtrooms. Bose has agreed to dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Beats back in July. The company originally claimed Beats had wrongfully stolen ideas covered by its patents on noise cancellation technology. And noise cancellation is key to Bose's success; the company's QuietComfort headphones are widely regarded as best in class for tuning out background noise. Bose filed to block imports of Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless headphones into the United States. But now attorneys on both sides say they've reached an accord and have asked the International Trade Commission to halt its investigation over any potential patent infringement.

So the court face-off won't be happening, but Bose and Beats are still very much determined to one-up each other in getting their headphones in front of consumers. Bose recently signed an expensive pact with the NFL making its headphones the league's "official" (and exclusive) brand — players are already getting fined for wearing Beats on game days. In response, MacRumors today reported that Apple may soon boot Bose's entire product line from its retail stores. If true, that decision could reach beyond headphones; Bose products like the SoundLink Mini and SoundLink III speakers could may disappear from Apple Store shelves. Beats and Bose won't be waging a legal battle, but their sudden rivalry seems to be getting pretty serious.