updated 11:25 am EST, Fri December 24, 2010
Monster sues Fanny Wang for headphone plagiarism
Monster Cable on Thursday sued Fanny Wang for allegedly copying its headphone design. The newcomer's Wang's headphones are said to both violate the patented design of its Dr. Dre-tuned Beats headphone as well as the trade dress, or company image, by exploiting Monster's standing for its own ends. The Fanny Wang sets are "nearly identical," Monster claimed.
Company co-creator Tim Hickman accused Monster both of a false complaint but also by abusing its financial clout to stifle competition from a company that couldn't afford a legal dispute. Fanny Wang uses a similar single-piece headband to the Beats, but this isn't reportedly covered by the patent. It also reportedly spent time altering both the overall design and the audio to avoid a clash with Monster.
Monster's arguments were "completely frivolous," the target company said in its official response.
Monster has been known to try to use invalid legal pressure in the past, including an attempt to shut down competing cables from Blue Jeans Cable that was rejected out of hand as well as attempts to sue companies for using the "Monster" name even in completely unrelated fields. The company may have a stronger argument against Fanny Wang as few if any other companies have a similar look.
Monster hasn't commented on the accusations of intimidation. Barring any court-issued temporary bans, the Wang's collection are shipping now with a $150, standard design. Future versions with an in-line remote and with noise cancellation don't have pricing but should arrive in February.