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Headphone Spat Pits Monster Against Upstart

Published on December 23, 2010
by Don Clark

Monster Cable Products has a well-known brand and a history of defending it aggressively in court. But its suit against a new rival to a high-profile line of headphones has some singular elements.

The complaint alleges that Fanny Wang Headphone Co., a startup based in Danville, Calif., is selling “nearly identical” knockoffs of the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones distributed by Monster and produced by Beats Electronics–iconic products that sprung from a collaboration of the celebrity rapper-producer and music mogul Jimmy Iovine.

Those two companies sued Fanny Wang, alleging patent infringement, unfair competition and “trade dress” infringement, or trading off the reputation of Beats headphones in ways that could cause consumers to confuse the competing products.

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