Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
When David Schuler came to Bose Corporation in 2006, he was initially slated with supporting one line of business for what might be the most well-known name in audio. That line of business was the company’s noise reduction technology (NRT), audio technology that was at least a decade ahead of every other competitor.
With NRT and the still-active QuietComfort headphone series (first launched in 1999), Bose was able to not just deliver premium sound to its customers via the most comfortable headphones in the game, but it could actively cancel out noise around the listener to make a plane, train, or crowded place feel like the perfect listening space of a small and intimate room. That listening experience has become standard, but Bose was there before everyone else.
Seventeen years later, Schuler now acts as vice president and chief intellectual property counsel at Bose, ensuring the company that has built its reputation on sterling audio, cutting-edge proprietary tech, and is rated one of the most trusted names in audio continues to thrive.
Schuler spent nearly six years building out his IP and patent focus in private practice before ultimately going in-house at Bose. Trained as an engineer, the lawyer-to-be spent five years working in the energy sector before deciding to go to law school. It’s his second career where Schuler would truly flourish.
“I was lucky in my initial practice at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault because they really encouraged attorneys to try different practice areas,” Schuler explains. “We didn’t get slotted into specific practice groups from the jump, and they discouraged us from sitting for the patent bar too early to allow us time to figure out what we really wanted to do. It really helped me build a strong legal foundation.”
After moving on to boutique IP firm Fish & Richardson, Schuler eventually went in-house with one of his firm’s longtime clients, Bose. With the company celebrating its sixtieth anniversary in 2024, Schuler has a lot to celebrate over his seventeen years in-house. For the chief IP counsel, it starts with his team.
“I’m particularly proud of the IP team we’ve built at Bose,” Schuler says. “We have an extremely engaged team, and they’re so talented and highly motivated. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do when it comes to protecting our differentiating technologies and a name that is so heavily trusted.”
In 2021, Bose was acknowledged as a “Top 100 Global Innovator” by Clarivate, citing its commitment to new ideas, problem-solving, and creating new economic value on a global scale. Schuler says the distinction is a reflection of his team’s commitment to protecting its brand and support of tech innovation that has kept the name Bose front-of-mind for audiophiles and casual listeners alike for more than half a century.
Schuler’s recent promotion has required him to transcend his practice area and take on a more enterprise leadership role to help lead and drive company initiatives. “It’s a world beyond IP and patents,” he says, laughing. “I’ve gone from leading a highly functioning and cohesive team to something much more wide-ranging. But I’ve had excellent mentors, managers, and leadership opportunities as I’ve risen within Bose.”
For lawyers who are just beginning their IP careers, Schuler has a great deal to offer. The two qualities he looks for in new attorneys are maintaining an open mind and demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning. Given the always-changing landscape of IP, being up to date on the latest tech breakthroughs is just part of the job.
Schuler also remembers a comment from his torts class in his first year of law school that still sticks with him to this day.
“Our professor encouraged us to revel in the ambiguity of the law,” Schuler remembers. “I always think about that in contrast to my earlier career in engineering. In engineering, there are right answers and objective truths. In law, there is a lot of ambiguity and advocacy on behalf of your client. You have to be able to wrap your head around that because it’s a different world to live in.”
Outside the Office
David Schuler has learned to love and live within the ambiguity of the law, but he also takes the time to make a concrete difference in his world. Up until the pandemic, Schuler was an extraordinary minister of holy communion for his diocese, providing a vital component of the Catholic mass for those who are hospital bound.
Ever the engineer, Schuler is also a committed science fiction fan who might just help find the next great Bose initiative in some space-age thinking.
“Wolf Greenfield commends Dave Schuler for his leadership and vision in protecting Bose’s intellectual property.”
—Mike Rader, Shareholder, Litigation Practice