Sunfire Loses Subwoofer Lawsuit Against API
September 14, 2003 - Audio companies create products that are based on a variety of technologies, provoking lawsuits every once in a while when patents are involved. One such lawsuit erupted earlier this year as Robert W. Carver, designer for and founder of Sunfire Corporation , filed a US patent lawsuit against Audio Products International (API).
API has officially confirmed that a favorable verdict for the company rendered in April of this year in the lawsuit is now final. "On April 3, 2003 , a jury of the Federal Court in Seattle invalidated all patent claims asserted against Audio Products by Mr. Carver," reported API in a statement last week.
During a two-and-a-half-week trial, a jury considered Carver's allegations that API had infringed certain claims of two of his US patents relating to small-box subwoofer technology. After concluding the jury verdict, the court entered judgment in API's favor on April 15. Carver also failed in an attempt to have the judge overturn the jury's findings and subsequently declined to appeal the decision. As a result, the court will be awarding costs to API.
API says that the judgment represents a "complete vindication" of its position that its small volume subwoofer and driver designs were a "natural progression of established principles of subwoofer design, combined with the availability of new amplifier technologies such as [class-D] and Bash."
"Since the patents claimed rights in driver design and the operating conditions within the speaker box, if API's designs infringed any of the claims in the Carver patents, those claims were considered invalid by the jury because they were either covered by designs that already existed or were a natural and straightforward progression of existing engineering design methods," they added.
API's Kevin Gabriel commented that the results of the verdict "have saved numerous speaker manufacturers millions in legal fees and proposed royalties in small woofer enclosures. [API's] Mr. Heiber spent a large sum of his own money to stand on principle for what turned out to be invalid patents that Mr. Carver tried to receive royalty payments on."
API is located in Toronto, Canada, and manufactures and markets Athena, Energy, and Mirage speakers.