updated 10:50 pm EDT, Fri March 15, 2013
Says iPhones, iPads and iMac infringe on sound boosting tech
THX, the pro-audio company originally founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, has sued Apple in federal court in California. The company alleges Apple is infringing on patents for a type of speaker unit that can boost sound output, granted to the company in 2008. It says the infringement is occurring in the iPhone, iPad and iMac products -- though how other iOS and Mac products are not guilty of the alleged infringement as well isn't explained. THX is seeking a sales injunction, royalties and damages.
THX is now an independent company, but was created in the late 70s to develop a system and set of standards for cinema sound systems to ensure that the audio content of films such as Star Wars could be consistently reproduced for theater-goers in all kinds of movie houses. Once part of Lucasfilm, it was named after Lucas' first professional movie, a dystopian sci-fi tale called THX-1138 that was based on a film done by Lucas in college.
The company also recently released its first mobile application for iOS, THX tune-up. The program lets users adjust the performance of TVs, projectors and speakers to achieve the best video and sound given the room acoustics and lighting.
In the lawsuit, THX says the patent infringement is causing the company "monetary damage and irreparable harm," but the company declined to comment on the case, saying only that it was a pending legal matter. An Apple spokesperson also declined to comment.