Apple Sued by THX for Infringing Speaker Patent

By Joseph Mandour on March 21, 2013

ipad-iphone-200x131 San Diego – THX Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. in California federal court claiming that the technology giant is infringing its patent that covers technology for narrow-profile speakers.

The complaint filed in San Francisco alleges that various Apple devices, including the popular iPhone 4 and the iPad, infringe U.S. Patent Number 7,433,483.  The ‘483 patent covers technology for narrow-profile speakers that can be used in small devices to improve sound without the need for external speakers.

San Rafael, CA-based THX told U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White that Apple is “among other things, making, using, importing, offering to sell, and/or selling in the United States products covered by one or more claims of the ‘483 patent…including but not limited to Apple’s iPhone4 and later models, as well as its iPad, and iMac products.”

THX’s patent, titled “Narrow profile speaker configurations and systems” was granted in 2008 and covers speakers that are meant to be used in small electronic devices including computers and flat-screen devices.  According to the patent description, the speakers can also be used in cars.  The narrow-profile speakers emit sound through a narrow opening and the size of the opening modifies the shape of the sound waves, altering the sound emitted, according to the patent description.

THX claims that Apple has been making and importing various electronic devices that infringe its ‘483 patent and that Apple’s patent infringement will cause irreparable harm to THX and therefore the technology giant must be stopped immediately.

“Apple’s infringement of the ‘483 patent has cause and will continue to cause THX both monetary damage and irreparable harm for which it has no adequate remedy at law.”

THX is seeking a declaratory judgment that Apple has infringed the ‘483 patent, a permanent injunction prohibiting Apple from continuing to infringe the patent, damages, prejudgment interest, costs and attorney fees.

THX is a cinema acoustics company started by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas.  THX began after Lucas realized that the state-of-the-art technology used to record sound while filming was being lost on cinema audiences, as theaters were using antiquated acoustic technology incapable of playing the sound the way the producers had envisioned.

The company went on to revolutionize the way movies are heard on both the big screen and more recently on devices in the home.  Today the company is known for its certification standards for cinema sound quality.

 

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Posted in: Patent Infringement