THX sues Apple over iMac, iPhone and iPad narrow profile speaker design

Images from Patent no. 7433483

Apple has found itself on the wrong side of another patent lawsuit. Lucasfilm-owned THX sued Apple yesterday over a claimed infringed patent relating to the speaker designs found on the new iMacs, iPhones, and iPads.

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Patent no. 7433483, filed in 2008 by THX, protects “narrow profile sound systems” that shoot sound out a “narrow sound duct.” The exact patent description reads as follows:

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. A pair of speakers may face one another, outputting sound towards a common output slot. Multiple pairs of speakers may be used to form an inline speaker unit for increased sound output. A slotted speaker unit may include multiple speakers facing the same direction, towards a groundplane or reflecting surface, and having parallel apertures for allowing sound radiation. 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.

THX was founded in 1983 as a division of Lucasfilm and was re-booted in 2001 as an independent company. Apple and THX have never had friction in the past, and, just two months ago, THX released ‘THX tune-up’. It’s an app that allows you to adjust your “TV, projector and speakers” all from your iPhone or iPad.

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Patent troll Personal Audio LLC sues iTunes’ top podcaster Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting

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In July 2011, a federal jury in Texas awarded “patent licensing company” Personal Audio LLC $8 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The jury found Apple infringed two valid patents related to downloadable playlists with its iOS devices as far back as the original iPod. One covered an “audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller,” while the other covered an “audio program distribution and playback system.” 9to5Mac has now learned Personal Audio LLC is attempting to target content creators directly, starting with a new patent infringement case in Texas against one of iTunes biggest podcasters, Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting.

If the outcome of the case is anything like Personal Audio’s previous cases, it could have a major impact on podcasters and other content creators on iTunes and elsewhere. Personal Audio also sued and entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Archos, Coby, RIM, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola related to its downloadable playlist patents and others.

The new patent, issued just last year on Feb. 7, 2012, is quite broad and describes a “System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence.” Personal Audio is also suing the popular Howstuffworks.com series, which like Ace Broadcasting, is a large podcasting presence on iTunes and across the web…

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Judge to review claims of juror misconduct in Apple vs. Samsung case Dec. 6

Following the $1 billion verdict in the Samsung vs. Apple case, Samsung has been attempting to get the courts to investigate juror Velvin Hogan. It claimed Hogan “concealed information” about his past history with Seagate, a company Samsung is now a shareholder in. CNET reported Federal District Judge Lucy Koh will consider Samsung’s claims in a hearing set for Dec. 6. At the heart of the allegations is whether Hogan disclosed that his former employee Seagate had previously sued him:

As part of her inquiry, Koh said she will require Apple to disclose what information the company’s lawyers knew about the jury foreman…Samsung argued that jury foreman Velvin Hogan didn’t disclose during jury selection that he had been sued by Seagate, his former employer. Samsung pointed out in court papers that Seagate and Samsung have a “substantial strategic relationship.” The litigation with Seagate led Hogan to file for personal bankruptcy in 1993. Samsung maintains Hogan should have informed the court about the case.

The Register reported today that Apple called Samsung’s argument a “convoluted theory,” adding it was Samsung responsibilities to interview jurors members during jury selection: Read more

Man sues Apple over ribbed Smart Cover, makes case for throwing out patent system

Apple is being sued by a man in Colorado over claims that the company’s $39 iPad Smart Covers violate a “Portable Computer Case” patent originally filed in 2003 and issued in 2005. PaidContent obtained a copy of the lawsuit.

The United States patent in question is 6,977,809. A Colorado man owns it, Jerald Bovino, who is seeking royalties for sales of Smart Covers’ using his invention. An excerpt from the patent seems to describe functionality that is quite similar to Apple’s Smart Covers—at least the ribbed design:

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Apple eBook price-fixing lawsuits hit Canada following DOJ suit

Following an investigation into alleged eBook price-fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin earlier this month, who refused to settle. Other publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, settled and reached an agreement to return Amazon to its previous wholesale model and dismantle Apple’s agency model. The settlement also included agreements with select states that would see $51 million in restitution paid to those who purchased eBooks through Apple’s platform. Now, several Canadian publications are reporting class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple and the five publishers throughout Canada.

Lawyer Normand Painchaud spoke with The Montreal Gazette about his class-action suit filed in Quebec Superior Court and talked about two others filed in Ontario and British Columbia:

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Apple, Google, and five other companies must face lawsuit over no-poaching agreements

Late last week we told you that the U.S. Justice Department apparently had evidence that Apple, along along with Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Intel, and Lucasfilms, entered “no-poach” agreements as part of an antitrust investigation from 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy H Koh made a statement yesterday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., confirming the companies must face a lawsuit. According to the report from Bloomberg, Koh said she would allow plaintiffs to re-file their complaint even if an initial request by the defendants to dismiss the claims is granted.  

Judge Koh’s decision yesterday will result in Google and the other companies having to provide a detailed account of the agreements made with other companies. They must also allow lawyers to take depositions. One lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joseph Saveri, said, “We get to see what really happened,” claiming the case could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Google provided statements to Bloomberg claiming they have “always actively and aggressively recruited top talent,” while the others have declined to comment.
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