Stereo headphone inventor Koss last month sued Apple, alleging infringement of five patents on wireless headphones. The lawsuit targets both AirPods and Beats headphones.
Apple is now hitting with a six-point offense. Five of the charges require a court to rule that Apple has not violated each of the five patents listed in the original lawsuit, while a sixth alleges that Koss has no right to sue anyway…
Apple patent reports that Koss met several times with Apple, these meetings taking place under a confidentiality agreement. Under the terms of that agreement, neither party could use anything they learned at the meeting for judicial purposes. Apple says this is exactly what Koss has done.
The twist? It was Koss, not Apple, who insisted on the confidentiality agreement, so Koss may have sabotaged his lawsuit.
In 2017, Koss asked Apple in an alleged attempt to get involved in licensing discussions. Despite Apple’s request that all discussions take place without restrictions, Koss insisted that the parties enter into a written Confidentiality Agreement. The parties eventually signed such an agreement, with an effective date of 6 August 2017 (the “Confidentiality Agreement”). In the Privacy Agreement, Koss and Apple agreed that neither party will “use or attempt to use any communication” [between the parties], or its existence, in a judicial process or in any other administrative or judicial process for any purpose. ”
One possible reason for this bizarre decision is that Koss wanted to prevent Apple from going to court to dismiss the infringement claims before any lawsuit.
Under the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement, while the agreement was in force, Apple cannot advise a Kosovo Court of Threats to file allegations of unfounded infringement or require a Court to declare Apple rights and resolve legal uncertainty with which faces. The confidentiality agreement also limited how Apple could disclose and use the existence and content of the discussions. But the deal also defended Apple – Koss was not allowed to later use the fact that Apple had agreed to a discussion with Koss, or the content of the discussion, against Apple in litigation.
In other words, by enticing Apple to participate in discussions, disclose information, and waive some of its legal options, Koss could not use Apple’s participation against him as “cups” to bring claims to a subsequent trial. However, this is exactly what Koss did.
While Koss filed the lawsuit in Texas, Apple has filed the lawsuit in California and is seeking a jury trial. It seems likely that the Texas court would await the outcome of the California case, even though it was later filed, as this could make the original indictment.
I suggested earlier that the inventor of stereo headphones seemed to be claiming ownership of the basic technology used in all wireless headphones, and may have decided to start with the company with the deepest pockets before going after other brands. If so, this may have been a strategic mistake, as Apple is not known for resolving such issues, preferring to challenge them instead.
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