The Personal Audio System
Personal Audio, Inc. was founded in 1996 with a mission of offering personalized audio to listeners over the Internet. The company worked to develop an audio player that could download, store and manipulate audio files to fulfill this mission. This system, described in patent applications filed in October, 1996, pioneered techniques now commonly used today in portable players, smartphones, tablets and other products that store and play audio and video files facilitated by downloaded playlists and podcasts.
The Personal Audio patents issued starting in 1998. In 2009, Personal Audio, LLC was founded to market the innovations described in the patents and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. was engaged to assert the patents against Apple Inc. and others. The complaint resulted in a jury trial in July 2011 and Apple was found to have infringed U.S. Patent 6,199,076. Today the Personal Audio patents are licensed by a number of major consumer electronic firms.