Signeo International Ltd et. al. (a/k/a Soul by Ludacris) v. Beats Electronics, LLC (a/k/a Beats by Dre) et. al.
Lan Kennedy-Davis was lead counsel for Plaintiff. This case involved anti-competitive practices by Defendants. Defendant Beats Electronics (Beats) sold headphones endorsed by a rapper Dr. Dre and manufactured by Defendant Monster Cable, Inc. (Monster) under the brand, “Beats by Dre.” Plaintiff manufactured, marketed and sold a similar line of headphones under a competing brand, “Soul by Ludacris.” Like Dr. Dre, Ludacris was also a professional rapper, actor and entertainer. Many other electronics manufacturers sought to enter the lucrative high-end headphones market as well. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants conspired to create barriers to entry into the headphones market. Defendants sent more than 100 cease and desist letters claiming that its design patent Pat. No. D552,077 was being infringed by almost every headphone manufacturer in the market, regardless of their headphone designs.
Defendants’ cease and desist letters included threats to rappers, manufacturers, re-sellers, retailers and distributors. Defendants’ made threats to companies at every level in the distribution and retailer chain resulting in a major barrier to entry and stifled competition. “Soul by Ludacris” filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment challenging Beats’ intellectual property rights, including the validity and enforceability of the ‘077 Patent. Defendants agreed that Plaintiff was correct in its claim and forever waived any claims against Plaintiff for infringement of any of its intellectual property. This case was litigated in United States District Court, Northern District of California.