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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?