Dr Dre sues Yamaha over headphones

Beats is claiming that Yamaha has copied the design of its Beats by Dr Dre headphone range with the Pro 300, 400 and 500 Series headphones.

The complaint was filed in California on 6 February, as reported by music website AllHipHop. The filing shows various images of Yamaha’s Pro Series headphones appearing in marketing material with tags such as “Dr … Who?” and “A Better Beat”.

Beats and Dr Dre said that the design of Yamaha’s headphones is so similar to its own range that consumers could be confused over which is which.

“Consumers appreciated the design, as well as the sound quality of Beats, and began wearing the Beats headphones around their necks as a fashion accessory, even when not listening to music,” said the filing. “In fact, the design of the Beats headphones has been a significant driver of the commercial success of the products.”

Beats was co-founded by Dr Dre (otherwise known as Andre Young) and Jimmy Iovine in 2006, entering into a licensing agreement with Monster Cable a few years later. That agreement dissolved at the end of 2012, and Beats now manufactures the range of audio devices itself.

Beats is seeking US$75,000 in damages from Yamaha, claiming a patent violation, infringement of Trade Dress Rights and Unfair Competition. The claim can be read in full here.

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