A long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away… actually in 1967 while at the University of Southern California's film school, George Lucas directed his 15 minute long student film called Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB. It won first prize at the 1968 National Student Film Festival in New York City, where Steven Spielberg had it chance to see it. A year later, in 1969, Lucas teamed up with Francis Ford Coppola to make a longer version of the student film and to form American Zoetrope film studio. Lucas' official directorial debut was THX 1138, originally 81 minutes long and produced by Coppola. The film was eventually released in 1971.
In 1983 LucasFilm created THX Ltd, issuing audio certifications to ensure Return of the Jedi's soundtrack was faithfully reproduced by movie theaters. It wasn't so much a kind of technology, but rather a set of guidelines to ensure high fidelity sound reproduction. In 2001 THX Ltd cut its ties with LuasFilm and has been an independent company ever since.
THX Ltd have now filed a case against Apple Inc in San Jose, California. THX is suing in regards to speaker technology patents the company holds. Infringing Apple products are allegedly iPhones, iPads and especially the latest iMac. What it boils down to really is a patent granted to THX in 2008 that has a speaker face the inside wall of a device and output sound via a duct, in order to allow the device to be thinner.
(THX trailer animation by Pixar)