THX Sues Apple Over Speaker Patent
Apple Inc. has been accused by THX Ltd., a company founded by “Star Wars” producer George Lucas, of stealing speaker technology used in iPhones, iPads and iMac products.
According to the complaint, Apple knowingly infringed and continues to infringe upon THX’s U.S. Patent No. 7,433,483 for “Narrow profile speaker configurations and systems,” a property granted in 2008 describing methods to effectively enhance sound quality in compact speaker arrangements integrated into consumer electronics like computers and televisions.
As noted by Bloomberg, THX claims Apple’s violation caused monetary damages and irreparable harm, and seeks royalties or damages to make up for lost profit.
Given the products Apple allegedly uses the technology in, it is reasonable to assume that monetary damages could be a substantial sum.
THX originated as a way to make sure that the audio in Lucas’s Star Wars movies could be properly produced outside of the theater. The company did this by establishing standards, as well as a certification for sound systems, reports Bloomberg.
This year, San Rafael, California-based THX announced its first mobile application, THX tune-up, available in Apple’s iTunes App Store, according to a Jan. 29 statement from THX. The app allows consumers to use an Apple device with the iOS operating system to adjust the performance of televisions, projectors and speakers, according to the statement.
Neither company would comment outside of THX which simply said that this was a “pending legal matter”.