THX has filed suit against Apple in U.S. District Court over alleged infringement of a speaker patent by the iMac, iPhone, and iPad line of products. THX is the well known sound innovation company that traces its roots back to George Lucas and Lucasfilm 30 years ago.
THX holds a 2008 patent for a speaker unit that can boost sound output and attach to computers or flat-screen televisions, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California.
THX claims that the infringement has caused it “monetary damage and irreparable harm,” and seeks an order to stop the alleged infringement and a reasonable royalty, or damages to compensate the company for any lost profit.
As noted by AppleInsider, the device that most resembles THX’s patent is the newly redesigned iMac, which features long channels that allow audio to be projected from the thin bottom edge of the machine.
An opportunity remains for the two companies to reach a settlement, as the deadline for the Apple and THX legal eagles to meet over initial disclosure is May 14th, initial disclosures are due on June 7th, and the initial case management conference is due a week later, on June 14th.
If no settlement is reached, Apple’s hopes will hinge on disputing the patent’s validity.
A point of interest: Tom Holman, creator of the original THX standard, came on board at Apple in mid-2011 to provide “technical direction” on their audio efforts.