The bankrupt wearable manufacturer Jawbone has returned not with new technology but to sue Apple for patent infringement. Jawbone accuses the iPhone maker of infringing its patents related to noise-cancelling technology which is available in AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats Studio Buds (Beats is owned by Apple).
A pioneer in wearable and audio technology, Jawbone used to sell fitness bands at Apple Store. But the company went bankrupt after its legal battle with Fitbit Inc. in 2017. Now, it has returned to seek royalties from Apple and Google for noise cancellation technology used in wireless Bluetooth headphones, smartphones, and smart home devices.
Jawbone turns into a patent troll, suing Apple for eight patents related to noise cancellation technology
According to Bloomberg, Jawbone filed suit accusing Apple of infringing eight patents related to cancelling background noises in federal court in Waco, Texas. “A district that’s the most popular in the nation for its patent-friendly judge and juries.”
The eight patents in the case relate to ways to limit background noise in devices, technology that was developed in Jawbone’s early years, when it was contracted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to research noise suppression techniques for the U.S. military.
Google, Apple and other companies each had a chance to buy the assets of the bankrupt company and passed, according to the complaints.
The filing states that Apple and Google missed the opportunities to buy Jawbone’s assets when the company went bankrupt. However, the publisher points out that it is not clear who currently owns Jawbone company but it has been actively suing tech manufacturers over noise cancellation patent.
It’s unclear from the suits and Patent and Trademark Office filings who’s behind the company that now owns the patents. Jawbone Innovations is headquartered in a small office building in Waco with no phone number and the lawyers on the case couldn’t immediately be reached.
Samsung Electronics Co., another company said to have passed on buying Jawbone’s assets, was sued by Jawbone Innovations in May over two of the noise-canceling patents. That case is pending in federal court in Marshall, Texas, which also is known as a patent-friendly venue.
Apple recently was ordered by a U.S jury in Texas to pay $300 million in damages to Optis Wireless Technology LLC for infringement of five patents 4G/LTE technology. In addition, the tech giant is also being sued for patent infringement related to Apple Pay by RFCyber, a patent holdings company.