Patent activity in the hearing aid industry continues to grow and grow more interesting.  We’re not Google or Apple, which ranked #11 and #13 for number of US patents in 2013 and are projected to rank higher in 2014.  But, our industry is hanging in there even as the competition heats up for Smart wearables and augmented reality (AR).

Besides the the usual two-month list of recent patents issued, today’s post tallies total patent applications and patents issued.  Size-wise, Cochlear and Siemens have the most in both categories, but Starkey has a lot of applications in the mill.  Although there is not time or space to delve into the many applications currently under review, suffice it to say that some of them are potential game changers for our industry.  A future post will peek at a few.

Hearing Device Patent Ownership

 

It’s interesting to compare patent portfolios among the big players in our industry and track other players entering the arena.

Hearing device patent owners as of jan 3 2015

The Bimonthly List of USPTO Patents

 

Description Patent Number Assignee Issued
Hearing Aid Device for Frequency Compression 8855342 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/24/2014
Hearing aid with a casing element 8873784 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 10/28/2014
Hearing system and method for operating the same 8873780 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 10/28/2014
Hearing Aid with a Casing Element 8873784 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 10/28/2014
Hearing apparatus with own speaker activity detection and method for operating a hearing apparatus 8873779 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/28/2014
Method for operating a hearing device having reduced comb filter perception and hearing device having reduced comb filter perception 8873781 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 10/28/2014
Separate inner and outer hair cell loss compensation 8873782 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 10/28/2014
Audio processing pipeline for auditory prosthesis having a common, and two or more stimulator-specific, frequency-analysis stages 8873770 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/28/2014
Systems, methods, and articles of manufacture for configuring hearing prostheses 8874226 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/28/2014
Conformal electrode pad for a stimulating medical device 8874238 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/28/2014
Cochlear implant electrode lead having a cross-section with variable height 8874240 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 10/28/2014
Configurable FM receiver for hearing device 8879764 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 11/04/2014
Configurable FM receiver for hearing device 8879764 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 11/04/2014
At least partially implantable sound pick-up device with ultrasound emitter 8879755 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 11/04/2014
Method of Deriving Individualized Gain Compensation Curves for Hearing Aid Fitting 8879745 Dean Robert Gary Anderson as Trustee of the D/L Anderson Family Trust 11/04/2014
Hearing Aid Microactuator 8876689 OtoKinetics Inc. (Salt Lake City) 11/04/2014
Method and Apparatus for Detecting User Activities from within a Hearing Assistance Device Using a Vibration Sensor 8879763 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 11/04/2014
Antenna system for a wearable computing device 8878735 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 11/04/2014
Assessing Neural Survival 8880180 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/04/2014
Implantable electrical connector having unitary contacts 8880181 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/04/2014
Fitting a cochlear implant 8880181 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/04/2014
Hearing aid with integrated flexible display and touch sensor 8885856 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 11/11/2014
Method and apparatus for alerting a person carrying an EEG assembly 8884767 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 11/11/2014
System for Establishing a Conversation Group among a Number of Hearing Aids 8885857 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 11/11/2014
Method of Processing a Signal in a Hearing Aid, a Method of Fitting a Hearing Aid and a Hearing Aid 8885838 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 11/11/2014
Hearing Aid with Mechanical Sound Generating Means for Function Selection 8885864 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 11/11/2014
Semi-Permanent Hearing Aid 8885859 Sonion Nederland BV (Amsterdam) 11/11/2014
Methods and Systems for Content Processing 8886206 Digimarc Corp. (Beaverton, Ore.) 11/11/2014
Implantable medical device 8885837 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/11/2014
Transcutaneous bone conduction device vibrator having movable magnetic mass 8891795 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/18/2014
Modular Hearing instrument 8885858 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 11/18/2014
Pharmaceutical agent delivery in a stimulating medical device 8892201 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 11/18/2014
Remote control for a hearing assistance device 8891793 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 11/18/2014
Hearing Aid with Signal Enhancement 8891777 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 11/18/2014
Smoothing method for suppressing fluctuating artifacts during noise reduction 8892431 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 11/18/2014
Cochlear implant systems including magnetic flux redirection means 8897883 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 11/25/2014
Optical Scanning Device 8900126 United Sciences LLC (Atlanta) 12/02/2014
Antenna Diversity for Magnetic Induction Radio 8902772 NXP B.V. (Eindhoven, Netherlands) 12/02/2014
Inflatable Ear Mold with Protected Inflation Air Inlet 8903113 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/02/2014
In-Ear Device with Selectable Frequency Response 8903114 Sonomax Technologies Inc. (Montreal, QC, Canada) 12/02/2014
Battery Door and Hearing Device 8903112 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 12/02/2014
Method and Device for Frequency Compression in a Hearing Aid 8908892 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/09/2014
Circuit Arrangement for Adjusting the Output Power And/or the Frequency Response of a Power Amplifier for a Hearing Aid Device 8908890 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 12/09/2014
Hearing Aid Apparatus and Method 8908891 Audiodontics LLC (Bethesda, Md.) 12/09/2014
Method and device for frequency compression in a hearing aid 8908892 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/09/2014
Method and Acoustic Signal Processing System for Interference and Noise Suppression in Binaural Microphone Configurations 8909523 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/09/2014
Hearing Apparatus with an Equalization Filter in the Filter Bank System 8908893 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/09/2014
Ear Canal Device Retention Means 8908895 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 12/09/2014
Cartridge for an electrode array insertion device 8909349 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 12/09/2014
Hearing Aid with Improved Compression 8913768 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 12/16/2014
Methods and systems for representing different spectral components of an audio signal presented to a cochlear implant patient 8914126 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/16/2014
Sound processor apparatus with sound processing integrated circuit that includes an integrated power supply module 8914127 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/16/2014
Methods and systems for minimizing an effect of channel interaction in a cochlear implant system 8914125 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/16/2014
Tonality-based optimization of sound sensation for a cochlear implant patient 8914124 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/16/2014
Transcutaneous bone conduction system 8913770 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 12/16/2014
Hearing system and method for operating a hearing system 8913769 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 12/16/2014
Pre-curved electrode array loading tools 8915926 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/23/2014
Methods and systems for automatically determining an implant side associated with a cochlear implant 8918182 Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH) 12/23/2014
Methods and apparatus for allocating feedback cancellation resources for hearing assistance devices 8917891 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 12/23/2014
Hearing Aid 8917893 ExSilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam) 12/23/2014
Two Part Hearing Aid with Databus and Method of Communicating between the Parts 8923542 Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark) 12/30/2014
Hearing Aid-Compatible Apparatus for Wireless Communication Devices 8923528 Microsoft Corp. (Redmond, Wash) 12/30/2014
Integrated Automatic Telephone Switch 8923539 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 12/30/2014
Method and Device for Frequency Compression 8923538 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) 12/30/2014

Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in  Sep/Oct 2014,  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 image courtesy of itu blog