The list of US patent approvals in the hearing industry grows longer with each bi-monthly period.  The Big 6 are well represented, but new players continue to enter the arena.  Inventor-owned patents are a rarity these days, accounting for just 10% of all new patents, down from 25% in the past.  In his new book, The Innovators, Walter Isaacson  charts changes in development of ideas and inventions by inventors and innovators:

“… the most advanced work is outrun by cannier innovators who pay attention to things like patents, or who think about the practical applications of the things they have devised.”

In many countries (e.g., Germany, Finland, Japan and China), corporations have to pay employee inventors to get the rights to their inventions.  Not so in the US, where   intellectual property law does not go out of its way to reward individual inventors for a number of reasons.

  • Filing is expensive, complicated and time consuming, which gives corporations an edge over individuals.  That’s especially the case since the 2013 America Invents Act substituted a “first to file” rule for the former “first to invent” rule.
  • Employees are routinely required by corporations to pre-assign intellectual property rights to their “pre-inventions”
  • Corporations are not required to recognize individuals’ efforts with compensation over and above their salaries.

 The List

Description Patent Number Assignee Issued
Apparatus and Method for Modifying an Input Audio Signal 8812308 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Munich, DE) 8/19/2014
Elongate Implantable Carrier Member Having an Embedded Stiffener 8812121 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 8/19/2014
Multichannel Audio Coder and Decoder 8817992 Nokia Corporation (Espoo, FI) 8/19/2014
Restoring a Past Configuration to a Sound Processor of a Cochlear Implant System 8818518 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH) 8/26/2014
Information Processing and Storage in a Cochlear Stimulation System 8818517 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH) 8/26/2014
Battery Life Optimizer 8805523 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 8/31/2014
Earwax filter, handing tool and dispenser for such filter 8824714 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 9/02/2014
Communication system comprising a telephone and a listening device, and transmission method 8824668 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/02/2014
Method and Apparatus for Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid with Capacitive Sensor 8824712 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 9/02/2014
FM Radio System for Digital and Analog Communications for Hearing Assistance Devices 8825824711037 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 9/02/2014
Efficient Convex Optimization for Real-Time Robust Beamforming with Microphone Arrays 8824711 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 9/02/2014
Ear Tip Piece for Hearing Instruments 8820474 Magnatone Hearing Aid Corp. (Florida) 9/02/2014
Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures 8824715 EarLens Corp. (Redwood City, Calif.) 9/02/2014
Exterior Power Supply for Hearing Aid 8831257 Chum Lee (Taipei County, Taiwan) and Huey-Ling Kao Ulrey (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 9/09/2014
Hearing Aid Faceplate Arrangement 8831259 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/09/2014
Method for restricting the output level in hearing apparatuses 8831258 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/09/2014
Bone Conduction Hearing Device Having Acoustic Feedback Reduction System 8831260 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/09/2014
Short Range, Uni-Directional Wireless Link 8831508 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 9/09/2014
Method of coating a surface with a water and oil repellant polymer layer 8828498 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 9/09/2014
Speech enhancement method and system 8831934 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 9/09/2014
System, Method and Hearing Aids for in Situ Occlusion Effect Measurement 8837757 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 9/16/2014
Control of shape of an implantable electrode array 8843216 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/23/2014
Variable impedance shunt for a tissue stimulating prosthesis 8843208 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/23/2014
Stimulation channel selection for a stimulating medical device 8843205 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/23/2014
Pitch perception in an auditory prosthesis 8842853 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/23/2014
Adaptive cancellation system for implantable hearing instruments 8840540 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 9/23/2014
Apparatus and Method for Outputting Sound in Mobile Terminal 8842860 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS Co. Ltd. (Suwon-si, South Korea) 9/23/2014
Test Battery System and Method for Assessment of Auditory Function 840565 Sonicom Inc. (Omaha, Neb) 9/23/2014
Two Part Hearing Aid with Databus Connection 8842863 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 9/23/2014
Method of Signal Processing in a Hearing Aid System and a Hearing Aid System 8842861 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 9/23/2014
Self-Adjustment of a Hearing Aid and Hearing Aid 8848954 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/23/2014
Hearing Aid Device with User-Controlled Automatic Adjusting Means 8842862 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 9/23/2014
Hearing Instrument Comprising a Divided Wax Filter 8842864 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 9/23/2014
Method and Apparatus for Mathematically Characterizing Ear Canal Geometry 8840558 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 9/23/2014
Microcircuit cochlear electrode array and method of manufacture 8849426 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 9/30/2014
Deep-Ear-Canal Hearing Device 8848955 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/30/2014
Hearing-Test Method 8844358 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/30/2014
Invisible Retention Device for Hearing Aids 8848959 Milton Richter (Monticello, NY) 9/30/2014
Method for the Operation of a Hearing Device and Hearing Device with Variable Frequency Shift 8848953 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/30/2014
Self-Adjustment of a Hearing Aid and Hearing Aid 8848954 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 9/30/2014
Standard Fit Hearing Assistance Device with Removable Sleeve 8848956 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 9/30/2014
Invisible Retention Device for Hearing Aids 8848959 Milton Richter (Monticello, NY) 9/30/2014
Sound Exposure Monitoring System and Method for Operating the Same 8848929 AEGISOUND (Christiansburg, Va.) 9/30/2014
Optical cochlear stimulation devices and methods 8845705 EarLens Corp. (Redwood City, Calif.) 9/30/2014
Hearing aid retainer accessory 8848957  & 8848958 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 9/30/2014
Hearing device with a vent extension and method for manufacturing such a hearing device 8855347 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 10/07/2014
Telecoil in a detachable direct audio input accessory 8855348 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 10/07/2014
Patterned implantable electret microphone 8855350 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/07/2014
Mechanical Fixation System for a Prosthetic Device 8852251 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/07/2014
Systems, Methods, and Article of Manufacture for Configuring a Hearing Prosthesis 8855324 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/07/2014
Dynamic Noise Reduction in Auditory Prosthesis Systems 8855344 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 10/07/2014
Systems and Methods for Loading a Pre-Curved Electrode Array onto a Straightening Member 8855790 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 10/07/2014
Method for Identifying a Receiver in a Hearing Aid 8855323 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 10/07/2014
Hearing Aid Device for Frequency Compression 8855342 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/07/2014
Hearing device with reduced acoustic feedback due to vibration-related shortening of the hearing device 8855346 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/07/2014
Hearing Aid Compliant Mobile Handset 8855724 Molex Inc. (Lisle, Ill.) 10/07/2014
Battery Module for Perpendicular Docking into a Canal Hearing Device 8855345 iHear Medical Inc. (San Leandro, Calif.) 10/07/2014
Vibration sensor for bone conduction hearing prosthesis 8858420 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/14/2014
Hearing Aid Device and Processing Unit and Receiving Unit for the Hearing Aid Device 8861758 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/14/2014
Feedback suppression device and method for periodic adaptation of a feedback suppression device 8861759 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/14/2014
Balanced Armature Devices and Methods for Hearing 8858419 EarLens Corp. (Redwood City, Calif.) 10/14/2014
System for hearing assistance device including receiver in the canal 8861761 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 10/14/2014
Audio Processing Compression System Using Level-Dependent Channels 8861760 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 10/14/2014
Hearing aid and an ear piece for a hearing aid 8861762 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 10/14/2014
RF transmitter for electrically short antenna 8868010 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 10/21/2014
Method for producing a signal which is audible by an individual 8867766 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 10/21/2014
Earpiece assembly with foil clip 8867768 iHear Medical Inc. (San Leandro, Calif.) 10/21/2014
Antenna used in conjunction with the conductors for an audio transducer 8867765 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 10/21/2014
Hearing Implant 8864645 Sentient Medical Ltd. (Dundee, Great Britain) 10/21/2014
Hearing Aid Mold 8867767 Gustavo Andres Bravo Cordero (Santiago, Chile) 10/21/2014
Method of focusing a hearing instrument beamformer 8867763 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/21/2014
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Having a Plug-In Connector 8867769 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/21/2014
Calibrated Hearing Aid Tuning Appliance 8867764 Bowie-Wiggins LLC (Burien, Wash.) 10/21/2014
Input converter for an EEG monitoring system, signal conversion method and monitoring system 8866661 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 10/21/2014
Waterproof Acoustic Element Enclosures and Apparatus Including the Same 8873783 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 10/28/2014
Retaining Module for the Earpiece of a Hearing Aid 8873786 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 10/28/2014
Attenuating Tip for Hearing Aids 8873785 Zounds Hearing Inc. (Tempe, Az) 10/28/2014

Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in July/Aug 2014,  May/Jun 2014,  Mar/Apr 2014,  Jan/Feb 2014Nov/Dec 2013September/October 2013Jul/Aug 2013May/Jun 2013Mar/Apr 2013Jan/Feb 2013Nov/Dec 2012

feature photo of Thomas Edison courtesy of The Atlantic