George Lucas' THX Suing Apple Over Speaker Patent Infringement

Speaking of Apple getting sued by people, it appears as though THX Ltd., which was founded by none other than George Lucas, is bringing a lawsuit against Apple for allegedly violating a 2008 patent for narrow profile speaker technology. The offending devices in which Apple used the technology include a big chunk of its product lineup, including iPhones (iPhone 4 and later), iPads, and iMacs.

The patent description of the technology reads in part, “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.” THX designed it for use in everything from computers to flatscreen TVs to cars.

Alleged offenders

According to Bloomberg, THX brought the suit against Apple in California this week, and the company claims “monetary damage and irreparable harm” and is seeking damages or a royalty (which presumably would require a hefty back payment from Apple). THX is also looking for the courts to make Apple halt the infringement.

If a judge determines that Apple is indeed guilty of patent infringement, it’s hard to say how steep the price could be; there are plenty of iPhones, iPads, and iMacs out there. We’ll have to wait and see how this chapter in the saga of tech companies suing each other to death plays out.