Plantronics Sued by GN Netcom for Headset Market Monopoly

Plantronics Inc. was accused of monopolizing the market for the headsets used by telemarketers and other call-center workers in a lawsuit filed by competitor GN Netcom Inc.

GN Netcom claimed Plantronics convinced distributors to sign agreements barring sales of competing headsets to large customers that operate call centers.

“Plantronics actively polices their dealers to ensure compliance and has threatened to terminate” distributors who violate the agreements, GN Netcom said in its complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

GN Netcom is seeking a jury trial, unspecified damages and court orders to block Plantronics from use of “exclusionary agreements” and from taking action against dealers who carry GN Netcom or other competing products, according to the complaint.

Plantronics dominates headset sales to call centers, with 75 percent of the U.S. market, GN Netcom claimed. For the 12 months ended March 31, Plantronics had net income of $109 million on sales of $713.4 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GN Netcom, based in Nashua, New Hampshire, is a unit of GN Store Nord A/S of Ballerup, Denmark, a maker of communications gear. Plantronics is based in Santa Cruz, California.

GN Store Nord rose 0.05 Danish kroner to 88.70 in trading in Copenhagen today. Plantronics fell 30 cents to $34.13 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Plantronics spokeswoman Karen Auby didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is GN Netcom Inc., v. Plantronics Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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