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Smart Audio sues Apple, Creative, Philips over car sound

updated 05:20 pm EST, Tue February 7, 2012

Smart Audio aims to profit from others' audio work

Mostly unknown Smart Audio Technologies has hoped to skim profits from the audio industry after filing a low-key lawsuit late last week that was publicized Tuesday. The Delaware-based complaint accuses Apple, Creative Labs, and Philips of violating the same February 2001-era patent for car audio system with a random access player that supports playlists. Smart Audio isn't clear what products are violating its technology, although iOS and iPod devices are possible candidates.

The brief lawsuit, as with most, argues that Smart Audio will be "greatly and irreparably harmed" if the alleged products stay on sale. It wants a permanent ban on sales and unspecified damages.

Some of the companies may be able to point to prior art, such as Rio's MP3 players.

While filed in Delaware, a state normally chosen for major companies engaging in trade disputes, signs exist in the case of a traditional patent troll case. Smart Audio is an LLC and unlikely to have produced anything on its own; the patent was acquired from Delco rather than invented. The company is also based out of Tyler in Texas, a town where many patents-only companies often sue with the knowledge that the local courts tend to favor their views. Why it moved the case to Delaware wasn't evident.

Smart Audio vs. Apple



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +3

    suddenly woke up

    and hit its head on the wall repeatedly as it discovers that its 'free-style swimming' patent was violated.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    +5

    This is a strange one....

    I am not sure what they are compalining about. I guess they are concerned that people will use their iPod in the car????? Well that ridiculous...besides shouldn't they be suing the car manufacturues that have iPod accessibility afterall an iPod by itself is not a threat to their business...it is iPod access within the car while the ingition is on.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +6

    shorter Smart Audio

    "we see you have $100 billion in cash you don't know what to do with. Just give us 0.1% of that and we'll go away."

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Some of the companies may be able to point to

    I am not sure what they are compalining about. I guess they are concerned that people will use their iPod in the car?????

    They're complaining that their patent has been violated. If anything, they're happy people are using their iPod in the car, as it helps boost their case (and profits).

    Well that ridiculous...besides shouldn't they be suing the car manufacturues that have iPod accessibility

    No, for the same reason you would be complaining if a company sued Apple for using a hard-drive that violated a patent. The car maker isn't making the stereo system, that's the stereo system company (phillips, for example).

    after all an iPod by itself is not a threat to their business...it is iPod access within the car while the ingition is on.

    It isn't the iPod they're probably suing over (since they have no rights there). It's the connection between the player and the stereo, upon which the stereo than has access to the player's capabilities. Hence, we're not talking about hooking up an iPod to your car stereo through a mini-jack, but hooking up your iPod using a dock connector where the song information, playlists, etc are shown on the stereo, and you can control the iPod from the stereo itself.

    Not saying the lawsuit has any merit. Just explaining the points.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Oh

    The article states:
    Some of the companies may be able to point to prior art, such as Rio's MP3 players.

    Again, the problem is the car integration, not that there was an MP3 player before 2001. And doesn't Creative Labs own the Rio stuff now, which might be why they're in on the suit?

  1. Tjp

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010

    0

    Solid State America

    I owned an SSA player which supported playlists and was a nice upgrade to the RIO about 2 years before this patent was filed. I often used it in the car. And I plugged it into the aux jack of many car stereo head units ...
    This seems on the surface to be another baseless patent that was incorrectly granted in the face of prior art.

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