Harman Will Appeal Judgment on Bose Patent Infringement

Audio manufacturers who know what's good for them avoid stepping on the toes of Bose, Inc. The Framingham, Massachusetts–based corporation is renowned for it ruthless marketing and zealous protection of its patents.

Harman International Industries is learning this lesson the hard way. On September 1, the Northridge, California electronics conglomerate was slapped with a $5.7 million judgment in a patent-infringement suit. Bose launched the litigation against two of Harman's loudspeaker subsidiaries, JBL, Inc. and Infinity Systems Corporation, over the use of an elliptical plastic port in some speaker models. The decision includes an injunction against producing or selling any products with the disputed feature.

Harman has agreed to change the design of the port, but has also decided to appeal the judgment levied against it by judge Patti B. Saris in a US district court in Washington, DC. "We expect our appeal to be successful," said Harman CEO Bernard Girod on September 6. "If, however, the judgment is not reversed on appeal, it will not have material consequences for the company. We have provided for such contingencies in our business plan." Harman International also owns Revel, an audiophile loudspeaker brand not involved in the lawsuit.