Apple Inc. has reached a settlement with the plaintiffs in an AirPods patent infringement case, according to 9to5Mac.
Seung Jin Kim and Pinn Inc. reportedly sued Apple for patent infringement, specifically claiming that the initial generation of AirPods, which went on sale six years ago, infringed on their patent rights related to wireless headphone technology.
Plaintiff Kim claims that he filed a patent eight years ago to solve the problems that plagued older, bulky Bluetooth headset products and invented a redesigned, re-architected hands-free wireless headset technology that makes the headset smaller, lighter, with a longer-lasting battery, and designed to fit the human ear.
Kim conceived the idea of a “smart box,” which he sketched in pencil in January 2015. The version of the “smart box” Kim sketched had a speaker, LCD screen and a clip to attach to the lapel of a shirt, according to testimony.
Kim wanted Apple to pay them 60 cents in royalties for every set of AirPods they sold, which at the time totaled $42 million (about $304 million). While Kim did hold two patents on wireless headphone technology, Apple argued that the company’s AirPods-related development work dated back a decade before the product’s launch.
The jury selection process in the case was supposed to begin today, but the court was notified that Apple and Kim had reached a settlement, meaning that Apple gave Kim a sum of money to drop the case.
Apple was previously sued by Jawbone and Koss over AirPods, and ended up settling privately as well. Shortly after acquiring Beats, Apple was also sued by Bose for its headphone technology, which was eventually settled.