THX Sues Apple Over Speaker Patent Infringement

/ 4 years ago

Apple is being sued by THX Ltd. who filed a case accusing Apple of stealing speaker technology which is used in iPhones, iPads, and other iMac products. It specifically infringes patent No. 7,433,483’s “Narrow profile speaker configuration and system” which describes methods to enhance the sound quality in compact speaker arrangements in consumer electronics such as computers and TVs.

The patent also describes a system which uses a sound reflecting surface being parallel to the speaker and its mounting surface with sound dampening material viz. placed in a way that sound can be channeled towards a narrow duct in a right angle in relation to the speaker unit. THX claims that Apple has caused monetary damage and irreparable harm, as a consequence demands royalties and damages for recovering its lost profit.

THX was founded in 2002 and holds multiple patents associated with speakers and acoustics technology.

The devices that infringe this patent are iPhone models from 4S onwards and certain undisclosed iterations on iPad and iMac. Apple’s latest iMac speakers feature a very thin profile which uses the acoustic design with down-facing speaker units, allowing the speakers to be hidden within the machine. Its still not clear if the casing of the speakers uses designs mentioned in THX’s patent, but the designs look to be pretty similar.

But apple has own speaker design patents which is related to its incorporation in devices such as iPads and iPhone models. Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,385,568 specifically describes “low-profile speaker arrangement for compact electronic devices” which shares certain details in THX’s patent. But the problem is that the Apple’s patent was only granted in February 2013, whereas THX’s patent was approved in 2008.

The deadline for the initial disclosure is June 7th, while the case management conference is schedules for June 14th.

Via: Apple Insider

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