‘Koss’ Is Accusing Everyone of Copying Its Wireless Earphone Tech

By Bill Toulas / July 25, 2020

‘Koss Corporation,’ the Milwaukee-based headphones maker, is suing Apple, Bose, JLab, Plantronics, and Skullcandy, accusing them of violating five of its patents. All of the patents presented in the lawsuit concern wireless earphone technology, and are related to the development of the “Striva” project from back in the early 2000s.

Based on this tech, Koss introduced the first prototypes of truly wireless in-ear headphones in 2012, which they claim others copied. Apple, in particular, is accused of engaging in violations in 2016, with the release of the first Apple AirPods.

In September 2017, Koss informed Apple that they would be sued for patent infringement (U.S. Patent No. 9,729,959), and the Cupertino company offered to discuss the matter over several meetings and email exchanges. Despite the efforts to find a solution that lasted 2.5 years, Koss maintains that Apple has not altered any of its products’ functionality to avoid patent infringement. So, now they are suing them for it.

Koss now requests a trial by jury for five patent infringement violations, offering to produce detailed proof to the court regarding the infractions’ technical aspect.

In addition to the above, Koss requests the court to consider just and proper reliefs, the coverage of attorney fees, awarding of damage compensation, and also pre- and post-judgment interest.

The case is similar with the other firms, with Bose, for example, being accused of patent infringements on its “Bose 700” wireless headphones. Koss isn’t interested in requesting the court to block the sales of the products that violate its tech, but instead wants a piece of the profits that the companies made. This is why the firm conveniently skips other smaller firms that released wireless earbuds before Apple did, as these products weren’t very successful in the market.

All that said, it’s clear that Koss is going after the money, and if they have a valid legal case, they should have the right to cash in their innovations. But do they really have a case, or are they just desperately seeking to improve their position while getting some positive publicity at the same time?

Experts believe that what Koss is trying to prove here is that they essentially own the concept of true wireless audio, and thus, they will have a “mission impossible” in court. Also, the fact that they failed to engage in legal fights earlier isn’t helping them at this point.

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