Apple has admitted it did not invent the iPod, which was in fact the brainchild of a British man who patented his prototype 30 years ago.
Kane Kramer, now 52, took out a worldwide patent in 1979 for a media player that looked similar to the iPod but could store only 3.5 minutes of music. He dubbed it the IXI and planned to expand its capacity as technology advanced.
However, after running out of funds in 1988 Kramer was unable to put forward the £60,000 needed to renew the patent so his idea fell into the public domain.
Kramer, now a struggling furniture salesman, was thereforee not entitled to receive any money or recognition from those who used his design.
The revelations came to light after patent holding company Burst sued Apple, claiming the iPod infringed on its patents.
Apple flew Kramer to the US to give evidence in its defence and used his original 1979 drawings of the IXI as evidence that Kramer, in fact, was the iPod's inventor.
The original iPod was unveiled in October 2001 and, since then, 163 million have been sold, filling Apple's coffers with billions of dollars in revenue.
"I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done," Kramer told the Daily Mail.
"I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them."
Kramer was questioned by Burst's lawyers for 10 hours. The dispute was eventually settled out of court.
Kramer, who recently closed down his struggling furniture design businesss, is now negotiating with Apple to receive compensation for the company's use of his drawings.
So far he has only been paid a fee by Apple for consultancy work related to the legal case.
"I can't even bring myself to buy an iPod for myself," he told the newspaper.
"Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months."