For the past few years we had seen apple filing patent infringement suits against various companies like Samsung, HTC etc. And now, looks like the company is getting a taste of its own medicine as THX, the pro audio company created by the famous Star Wars creator, George Lucas has filed a patent infringement suit against Apple recently.
THX has filed a patent infringement suit in a federal court in California stating that Apple has violated some of the company’s patents regarding the “narrow profile speaker configurations and systems” in the iPods, iPhones and iMacs made by Apple. The complaint filed by THX states that Apple has been infringing the patent granted to THX back in 2008 in iPhone 4S and later models, iMacs and iPads “which incorporate narrow-profile speaker units that output sound through a duct or aperture having a narrow dimension.”
The complaint further adds that Apple knowingly infringed and continues to infringe till date the THX’s patent No. 7,433,483. The patent basically gives the right to the company to use the technology which enhances the audio quality in their compact speaker systems.
The exact details of the patent no. 7,433,483 as given by the official website of the United States Patent office are as follows:
“A narrow profile speaker unit comprises at least one speaker outputting sound towards an internal surface and through a duct with an output terminus, such as a slot, having a narrow dimension, effectively changing the cross-section of the speaker’s audio output wave. A pair of speakers may face one another, outputting sound towards a common output slot. Multiple pairs of speakers may be used to form an inline speaker unit for increased sound output. A slotted speaker unit may include multiple speakers facing the same direction, towards a groundplane or reflecting surface, and having parallel apertures for allowing sound radiation. The speaker units may be integral with or attached to electronic appliances such as desktop computers or flatscreen devices, or may be used in automobiles or other contexts.”
THX is claiming monetary damages from the suit along with royalty payments. Bloomberg reports that the patent violations caused “monetary damage and irreparable harm,” to the company. Further THX aims to get a court order for stopping the patent violations by Apple.
THX, known for its Theatre sound technology has a lot of patents relating to speaker and sound output technology under their sleeve. It is also worth noting that Apple has a similar patent registered with the patent office, like the U.S. Patent No. 8,385,568, which gives right for “Low-profile speaker arrangements for compact electronic devices,”. However, the company is quite unlikely to use the patent in their defense as it was granted to them just recently.
If Apple is not looking to fight a case right now, then they have only till May 14 to settle their disputes outside the court. And when contacted about the suit, as usual, both the companies declined to comment on the matter.
via Apple Insider