Apple Countersues US Stereo Headphone Inventor Koss in Response to Patent Lawsuit

Apple is countersuing Stereophone inventor and audio manufacturer Koss over a patent lawsuit it recently filed in Waco, Texas, accusing Apple and several audio companies of violating patents relating to its wireless headphone technology.

koss
In the Koss lawsuit, originally spotted by Patently Apple, AirPods and Beats wireless headphones are accused of violating five patents relating to wireless headphone technology that Koss essentially says it pioneered in the industry. The four patents describe wireless earphones that involve a transceiver circuit, enabling a device to stream audio from a digital audio player, computer, or wireless network.

Koss said Apple was aware of these patents and met several times to discuss using them, before deciding not to license any of the company's technology. Koss now wants an unspecified amount in compensation for the alleged infringements, "which by law cannot be less than a reasonable royalty, together with interests and costs."

In Apple's filing registered with the U.S. District Court for the Northern California on August 8, however, it claims Koss' allegations are "baseless." Moreover, it alleges that the lawsuit also breaks a written confidentiality agreement that Koss demanded and Apple ultimately agreed to in 2017.

According to the agreement, neither Apple nor Koss "would use or attempt to use any Communications [between the parties], or the existence thereof, in a litigation or any other administrative or court proceeding for any purpose."

According to the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement, while the agreement was in force, Apple could not advise a Court of Koss' threats to file baseless infringement claims or ask a Court to declare Apple's rights and resolve the legal uncertainty it faced. The Confidentiality Agreement also restricted how Apple could disclose and use the existence and contents of the discussions. But the agreement also protected Apple—Koss was not permitted to later use the fact that Apple had agreed to a discussion with Koss, or the contents of the discussion, against Apple in litigation.

In other words, having enticed Apple to participate in discussions, reveal information, and forego some of its legal options, Koss could not use Apple's participation against it as a "gotcha" to bring claims in a later litigation.

Apple now says this is precisely what Koss has done in bringing the lawsuit, thereby rendering it invalid. In addition to the alleged breach of contract, Apple also submitted documentary evidence that it says proves that it hasn't violated any of the patents cited by Koss in its original litigation.

Apart from Apple, other companies targeted by the Koss lawsuit include Bose, JLab, Plantronics, and Skullcandy, all of which allegedly violate Koss patents related to in-ear wireless headphones technology that is now used widely in the audio market.

Top Rated Comments

Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
13 months ago
Jeez with the amount of court cases Apple deals with, you’d swear they run a Fortune 500 law company
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spock Avatar
13 months ago
Haven’t had Koss headphones since the early 1990’s, didn’t even know they were still around...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gridlocked Avatar
13 months ago

They are just suing Apple Koss they've nothing better to do. How come they haven't gone after every single other manufacture of wireless headphones, there are thousands of them out there
The story mentions that they are going after other manufacturers, reading is fundamental.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
13 months ago

Well, Apple says Koss' allegations are "baseless", so we can move on.
They explain why they are baseless in some detail, if you bother to read their complaint.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
13 months ago

Koss was junk back in the 90s and still junk today. I remember installing Koss stereos into cars at Circuit City. The backlighting on these would randomly break after a week. They were used as the attraction. "Get a new CD player for your car for only $75 + installation!!". We had to up sell everyone to the next cheapest stereo of $150 because we knew that they would be back to return the Koss junk.
Whether or not their products are junk is irrelevant. The suit is about patents, not the quality of Koss' products.

They are just suing Apple Koss they've nothing better to do. How come they haven't gone after every single other manufacture of wireless headphones, there are thousands of them out there
Sometimes it pays to read the article before commenting. Relying on the headline can lead to missing important information like this from the first sentence:

Apple is countersuing Stereophone inventor and audio manufacturer Koss ('https://www.koss.com') over a patent lawsuit it recently filed in Waco, Texas, accusing Apple and several audio companies of violating patents relating to its wireless headphone technology.
Expanded upon in the last sentence:

Apart from Apple, other companies targeted by the Koss lawsuit include Bose, JLab, Plantronics, and Skullcandy, all of which allegedly violate Koss patents related to in-ear wireless headphones technology that is now used widely in the audio market.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
13 months ago

[IMG width="251px"]https://images.macrumors.com/images-new/macrumorsthreadlogo@3x.png[/IMG] ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/08/10/apple-countersues-koss-patent-lawsuit/')

Apple is countersuing Stereophone inventor and audio manufacturer Koss ('https://www.koss.com') over a patent lawsuit it recently filed in Waco, Texas, accusing Apple and several audio companies of violating patents relating to its wireless headphone technology.



In the Koss lawsuit, originally spotted by Patently Apple ('https://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2020/07/koss-an-american-pioneer-in-headphones-has-filed-a-five-count-patent-infringement-lawsuit-against-apple.html#:~:text=locally%20in%20India-,Koss%2C%20an%20American%20Pioneer%20in%20Headphones%2C%20has%20filed%20a%20Five,Patent%20Infringement%20Lawsuit%20against%20Apple&text=The%20SP%2F3%20Stereophone%20provided,sounds%20of%20a%20concert%20hall.'), AirPods and Beats wireless headphones are accused of violating five patents relating to wireless headphone technology that Koss essentially says it pioneered in the industry. The four patents describe wireless earphones that involve a transceiver circuit, enabling a device to stream audio from a digital audio player, computer, or wireless network.

Koss said Apple was aware of these patents and met several times to discuss using them, before deciding not to license any of the company's technology. Koss now wants an unspecified amount in compensation for the alleged infringements, "which by law cannot be less than a reasonable royalty, together with interests and costs."

In Apple's filing ('https://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2020/08/apple-files-a-six-count-countersuit-against-koss-corporation-for-breach-of-contract-and-more.html') registered with the U.S. District Court for the Northern California on August 8, however, it claims Koss' allegations are "baseless." Moreover, it alleges that the lawsuit also breaks a written confidentiality agreement that Koss demanded and Apple ultimately agreed to in 2017.

According to the agreement, neither Apple nor Koss "would use or attempt to use any Communications [between the parties], or the existence thereof, in a litigation or any other administrative or court proceeding for any purpose."
Apple now says this is precisely what Koss has done in bringing the lawsuit, thereby rendering it invalid. In addition to the alleged breach of contract, Apple also submitted documentary evidence that it says proves that it hasn't violated any of the patents cited by Koss in its original litigation.

Apart from Apple, other companies targeted by the Koss lawsuit include Bose, JLab, Plantronics, and Skullcandy, all of which allegedly violate Koss patents related to in-ear wireless headphones technology that is now used widely in the audio market.

Article Link: Apple Countersues US Stereo Headphone Inventor Koss in Response to Patent Lawsuit ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/08/10/apple-countersues-koss-patent-lawsuit/')
It would be a great help if you could also provide direct links to the PDFs of complaints like this (and patents when discussed). There's a link to Patently Apple, which includes a Scribd link, but that's a lousy way of reading a document. I've been hunting for the PDF and can't seem to find it online. This is a public document, right? I don't see a reason I need to create an account with Sribd or anyone else to download it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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