Apple returns fire in Koss AirPods patent infringement battle

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple is firing back against Koss's patent lawsuit with a filing of its own, with Apple claiming not only that the personal audio manufacturer's claims are baseless, but also that it broke a confidentiality agreement.




In July, Koss filed in the U.S. District Court in Waco, Texas accusing Apple of infringing several patents it owns relating to wireless earphone technology, and that selling AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Beats by Dre products is a violation. Furthermore, the HomePod and Apple Watch were also targeted under another patent relating to configuring wireless devices to work on a wireless network.

In a new filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California San Jose Division, Apple one-ups Koss' five-count lawsuit with one containing six counts. While the first details an alleged breach of contract, the other five each declare Apple didn't infringe on each of five patents that Koss is using in its own complaint.

According to the filing, the breach of contract over a confidentiality agreement relates to a document dating back to August 6, 2017, a time when the two companies were in licensing talks. Under the agreement, "the parties agree not to use or attempt to use any Communications, or the existence thereof, in a litigation or any other administrative or court proceeding for any purpose."

It is claimed that Koss sought out Apple for licensing discussions, as well as insisting on a written confidentiality agreement, while Apple requested discussions be made "without restriction." Apple argues that the agreement protected both sides, as while it stopped Apple from using the contents of discussions against Koss, it also prevented Koss from using Apple's participation in discussions and sharing of information against it as a "gotcha" for later litigation claims.

"That, however, is exactly what Koss did," the filing suggests.

Koss' claims in the first filing includes references to how it met with Apple multiple times over infringement allegations, which Apple believes is itself an infringement of the confidentiality agreement.

The other five counts for non-infringement of individual patents, argue that Apple's products do not infringe the patents for a few reasons. For the second count affecting patent number 10,206,025, Apple leans on how the AirPods do not "initiate transmission of a request" to any "remote, network-connected server," as it only does so to a local device.

The third count, covering patent number 10,298,451, again dismisses the threat against the HomePod, for the same reason that it doesn't send credential data to "one or more host servers." It is a similar story for patent number 10,469,934 for the fourth count affecting AirPods.

The fifth count for patent 10,491,982 is fought due to AirPods not having an "ear canal portion that is inserted into an ear of the user when worn." Lastly, the sixth count for patent 10,506,325 is denounced by Apple due to it describing a "curved hanger bar [that] rests upon an upper external curvature of an ear of the user behind an upper portion of an auricula of the ear of the user."

In its prayer for relief, Apple asks the court to stop Koss from using the discussions raised under the confidentiality agreement in any lawsuit, to declare Apple doesn't infringe on the identified claims, a recovery of "reasonable attorneys' fees," and any other relief. A trial by jury is demanded.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,078member
    This is, I suspect, primarily an attempt by Apple to have the dispute moved from the WDofTX to the NDofCA.

    It's interesting that Apple isn't, at least yet, arguing that Koss's patents are invalid as, e.g., anticipated by prior art. Apple also hasn't, as-yet it seems, filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to have Koss's patents invalidated. But it has been quite busy in that venue having filed 10 petitions, relating to 9 patents, in the last month.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    carnegie said:
    This is, I suspect, primarily an attempt by Apple to have the dispute moved from the WDofTX to the NDofCA.

    It's interesting that Apple isn't, at least yet, arguing that Koss's patents are invalid as, e.g., anticipated by prior art. Apple also hasn't, as-yet it seems, filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to have Koss's patents invalidated. But it has been quite busy in that venue having filed 10 petitions, relating to 9 patents, in the last month.
    If I remember my law classes well...maybe I don't...but I'm not sure this is the place to file invalidations. But I suspect Koss will have a hard time. Broad patents that don't even apply to the case being levied at Apple won't help them.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,078member
    carnegie said:
    This is, I suspect, primarily an attempt by Apple to have the dispute moved from the WDofTX to the NDofCA.

    It's interesting that Apple isn't, at least yet, arguing that Koss's patents are invalid as, e.g., anticipated by prior art. Apple also hasn't, as-yet it seems, filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to have Koss's patents invalidated. But it has been quite busy in that venue having filed 10 petitions, relating to 9 patents, in the last month.
    If I remember my law classes well...maybe I don't...but I'm not sure this is the place to file invalidations. But I suspect Koss will have a hard time. Broad patents that don't even apply to the case being levied at Apple won't help them.
    You can argue invalidity in federal district court in infringement actions, as well as before the PTAB. That doesn't mean Apple would in this particular context though.

    Perhaps Apple will eventually argue invalidity of all or some of Koss' patents-in-suit. But thus far it hasn't.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 634member
    It looks like Koss is trying to battle in the court of public opinion, by throwing in everything and hoping something sticks. But what they don’t realize is, Apple has already won the public opinion war with the customer.
    edited August 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    carnegie said:
    This is, I suspect, primarily an attempt by Apple to have the dispute moved from the WDofTX to the NDofCA.

    It's interesting that Apple isn't, at least yet, arguing that Koss's patents are invalid as, e.g., anticipated by prior art. Apple also hasn't, as-yet it seems, filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to have Koss's patents invalidated. But it has been quite busy in that venue having filed 10 petitions, relating to 9 patents, in the last month.
    AI fails to mention that Apple is one of a Party of Five (90's throwback) being sued by Koss.  Apple, Bose, Plantronics, Skullcandy, and JLab are all defendants in this case.  Wouldn't all defendants have to agree to the move?  I can't think of a reason any of them would object, but I'm curious regarding the necessity of full agreement among the defendants.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,078member
    carnegie said:
    This is, I suspect, primarily an attempt by Apple to have the dispute moved from the WDofTX to the NDofCA.

    It's interesting that Apple isn't, at least yet, arguing that Koss's patents are invalid as, e.g., anticipated by prior art. Apple also hasn't, as-yet it seems, filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to have Koss's patents invalidated. But it has been quite busy in that venue having filed 10 petitions, relating to 9 patents, in the last month.
    AI fails to mention that Apple is one of a Party of Five (90's throwback) being sued by Koss.  Apple, Bose, Plantronics, Skullcandy, and JLab are all defendants in this case.  Wouldn't all defendants have to agree to the move?  I can't think of a reason any of them would object, but I'm curious regarding the necessity of full agreement among the defendants.
    Koss sued the other parties in separate actions.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.