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Apple sued over sound tech by George Lucas' THX

The audio-and-visual tech firm founded by Lucas claims Apple is infringing on a speaker patent in its iPhone, iPad, and iMac products.

An image from the patent paperwork.

The George Lucas-founded audio-and-visual tech firm THX has filed a patent suit against Apple for allegedly swiping speaker technology for the iPhone, iPad, and iMac.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Jose, Calif., involves a patent called "Narrow Profile Speaker Configurations and Systems," which essentially covers various setups for directing sound from a small speaker or speakers toward a narrow, slotted opening in such a way as to produce the best possible sound quality.

The abstract of the patent says the speaker units "may be integral with or attached to electronic appliances such as desktop computers or flatscreen devices, or may be used in automobiles or other contexts."

The suit says the infringing Apple products include but aren't limited to the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as the company's iPad and iMac products, all of which "incorporate narrow-profile speaker units that output sound through a duct or aperture having a narrow dimension."

"Apple's infringement...has caused and will continue to cause THX both monetary damage and irreparable harm," the suit says, and it asks for damages covering lost profits or "at least a reasonable royalty."

Bloomberg, which reported the news earlier, said neither THX nor Apple would comment on the suit.

The full suit, along with the patent, is available here, as posted by Apple Insider.