Patent dispute over AirPods: Apple counters Koss lawsuit

The headphone manufacturer accuses Apple of theft of intellectual property. Apple is now referring to a nondisclosure statement. In it, Koss actually undertakes not to use information from previous license negotiations for a lawsuit against Apple.

Apple defends itself against a patent lawsuit by the US headphone manufacturer Koss. However, the iPhone manufacturer does not counter with the usual accusation that Koss also illegally used its intellectual property – instead, the company is said to have violated contracts agreed with Apple and violated a nondisclosure statement requested by Koss, as reported by Patently Apple.

Apple AirPods (Image: CNET.com)On July 22nd, Koss had the Patent dispute kicked off with Apple. The company and the company founder John Koss are considered to be the inventors of modern stereo headphones. Talks with Apple about a license agreement have failed, although, according to Koss, it was clear that Apple was violating the intellectual property rights in question, the report said.

The two companies were already negotiating the purchase of licenses in 2017. At that time, according to Apple Koss’ complaint, insisted on a confidentiality agreement. Accordingly, Koss and Apple agreed that neither party will “use or attempt to use communications between the parties or their existence in any dispute or other administrative or legal process for any purpose.”

According to Patently Apple, the nondisclosure agreement should, among other things, rule out that Koss cites the fact that Apple has entered into license negotiations as an argument that Apple is known to have infringed a patent. Koss wanted to protect himself from Apple complaining to a court about allegedly baseless threats from Koss.

Apple does not only accuse Koss of breach of contract. In order to fend off the patent lawsuit, Apple now wants a court to determine that the patents brought by Koss are not infringed by the company’s own wireless AirPods headphones.

Patently Apple assumes that Koss should never have filed his patent lawsuit. The blog also claims to have found evidence in the lawsuits of both parties that Koss knows that Apple does not infringe any intellectual property rights of Koss. It remains to be seen whether the Texas district court appealed to by Koss will agree with this assessment. Nor would it be the first time Apple refused to buy a license for a patent and was later forced to do so by a court.

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