Koss is suing Apple over its use of wireless audio connections

Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch Series 5 Edition Space Black Titanium with JUUK Rainbow Ligero Band
Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch Series 5 Edition Space Black Titanium with JUUK Rainbow Ligero Band (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Headphone maker Koss has filed a suit against Apple relating to audio patents.
  • The company claims Apple infringes upon a number of its patents.
  • All of those patents relate to the wireless transferring of data to headphones.

Headphone maker Koss has filed suit against Apple, claiming the company behind AirPods is infringing upon some of its patents. Koss specifically mentions AirPods, Apple Watch, and HomePod, although it seems to be a general issue with Apple's product line as a whole.

As spotted by Apple Insider, Koss has four particular patents that all relate to the transmission of audio wirelessly.

In the suit, Koss is leveraging several of its patents, including U.S. Patent numbers. 10,206,025 ('025), 10,469,934 ('934), 10,491,982 ('982), and 10,506,325 ('325.) These four patents generally describe wireless earphones that involve a transceiver circuit, enabling the device to stream audio from a digital audio player, computer, or wireless network. Koss argues that by selling AirPods, AirPods Pro, and wireless Beats by Dre products, Apple has damaged Koss irreparably by violating all four patents in part, or in whole.

Oddly, the patents don't actually cover any particular method of transferring the audio but rather the mere suggestion that it could be something that someone might do. Koss appears to be basing this all on patents that cover an idea rather than how it would actually be implemented.

The same goes for another patent, dubbed "451", which relates to configuring wireless devices for use on a network.

Koss also claims that U.S. patent 10,298,451, or "'451" for short, is also being violated. Patent '451 discusses configuring wireless devices to work on a wireless network. Again, Koss alleges that Apple is violating this by simply selling products, though this time, they mention the HomePod and Apple Watch.

All of these patents were granted in 2019 and, as Apple Insider points out, Apple had been making wireless audio equipment for the iPhone long before then.

It seems unlikely, but should Koss win it's asking for punitive and compensatory damages of three times the amount a jury or court awards. Because why not?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.