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thx lucasfilm logo

THX is suing Apple over a 2008 speaker technology patent

George Lucas’ THX is suing Apple over sound and speaker technologies that they have reportedly stolen from.  Back in 2008, THX filed a patent for speaker units which can boost sound output and attach to computers and/or flat-screen TV’s.  The lawsuit which was filed on March 14th says that Apple’s violations of these patents has caused ” monetary damage and irreparable harm.” They are seeking a monetary settlement as well as requesting that the Judge stop the alleged infringement.

Patent number 483 from 2008 is the specific patent in question, and the documents related to it say that it is for “narrow profile speaker configurations and systems.”  While Apple does use this type of technology in some of their products, they also hold patents themselves for the same type of “low profile” speakers.

THX directly named the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and “iPad and Mac products” as including the “stolen” technology.  George Lucas founded THX is 2002 and took its name from Lucas’ first movie called THX 1138 which was released way back in 1971.  THX has been a sub-company of Lucasfilms and was originally meant to provide a industry standard for theater sound systems which would ensure good sound quality for Star Wars films.

It is interesting to note that THX actually released an iOS app called “THX tune-up” this January which is meant to help enhance and control the performance of television, projectors and speakers.

No specific compensation amount has been requested other than THX asking for a reasonable amount equal to their lost profit.  While there has been no official statement from either company about the pending legal matter, you can view the entire complaint below.

THX Complaint

So what do all of you think?  Is Apple in the wrong or did they have legal right to include “low profile” speakers in their devices?