THX, the audio technology company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, has accused Apple of infringing upon its patented speaker technology. In a complaint filed Thursday in a San Jose federal court, THX claimed that various iMac, iPad, and iPhone models feature speaker units that violate a patent granted to THX in 2008. The suit also claims that Apple's alleged violation has resulted in "monetary damage and irreparable harm," and seeks a court order to stop the infringement, as well as compensation in royalties or damages.
"Monetary damage and irreparable harm."
The patent in question, No. 7,433,483, outlines technology for "Narrow profile speaker configurations and systems." Specifically, it describes ways to enhance sound quality through speaker units attached to consumer products such as flat-screen televisions or personal computers. THX alleges that Apple's iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 infringe upon this technology, as do undisclosed models of the iMac and iPad. As Apple Insider notes, the Cupertino-based company already owns several speaker-related patents, with its most recent, US Patent No. 8,385,568, granted in February 2013.
Originally founded as a division of Lucasfilms in 1983, THX develops sound standards and certification systems for movie theaters and home entertainment systems. The company became independent in 2001, and is currently headquartered in San Rafael, California.
According to the complaint, Apple and THX have until May 14th to discuss initial disclosures or an early settlement.