Some anecdotal observations precede the current hearing aid patent list, some superficial, others not so much.

Best Name for a New Entrant:  Brain Basket, LLC (Auditory Comprehension and Audibility Device, #9301066)

 

Who’s Got the Power

 

The big developing technology–accounting for over 10% of today’s list–is extended, connected, sustainable, or implantable power solutions. Big 6 and CI manufacturers own two of the patents; the rest are owned by companies in other industries.

  • Qualcomm
    • System and Method for Low Loss Wireless Power Transmission (#9270342)
    • Systems and Methods for Decoupling Multiple Wireless Charging Transmitters (#9275791)
    • Class E Amplifier Overload Detection and Prevention (#9281711)
    • Waking Up a Wireless Power Transmitter from Beacon Mode (#9306634)
  • Ramot.  Rechargeable Alkali Metal-Air Battery (#9269997)
  • Panasonic.  Thin Battery and Battery Device ##9281538)
  • Battery Street Energy, Inc.  Intelligent Battery Pack Module  (#9293755)
  • Envoy Medical.  Hearing Aid Amplifier Having Feed Forward Bias Control Based on Signal Amplitude and Frequency for Reduced Power Consumption (#9313590)
  • Cochlear Ltd.  Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit (#9314625)
  • Sonova.  Microphone Battery Barrier. (#9301065)
  • Samsung
    • Hearing Device and Method of Low Power Operation (#9288590)
    • Method and Apparatus for Low Power Operation of Binaural Hearing Aid (#9319806)

 

Patents as Options

 

Just because you hold the patent doesn’t mean you’re going to enter the industry, and perhaps that’s what Samsung is thinking as it continues to gain patents for hearing aids, hearing devices, and all that goes with them.  There may be a post on “patent thicket” strategy that touches on that in a month or so.  Meanwhile, hold onto this thought from MIT economist Robert S Pindyck, PhD:

“For most technologies and products, the R&D leading to a patent is typically much less costly than the development of the product itself.  Licensing can provide a way of controlling existing competitors.”1

 

Description Patent Number Assignee Issued
Hearing Aid Device and a Method of Manufacturing a Hearing Aid Device 9271095 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 2/23/2016
Hearing Instrument with an Integral Injection-Molding Casing 9271093 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 2/23/2016
Hearing Aid Ear Plug with an Extraction Cord 9265664 Widex A/S (Lynge, DK) 2/23/2016
Method of Auditory Training and a Hearing Aid System 9265420 Widex A/S (Lynge, DK) 2/23/2016
Hearing Aid with an H-Bridge Output Stage and a Method of Driving an Output Stage 9271088 Widex A/S (Lynge, DK) 2/23/2016
Method and System for Contact Sensing Using Coherence Analysis 9271064 Personics Holdings, LLC (Boca Raton, FL) 2/23/2016
Holding Unit for a Vibration Transmitter and a Vibration Transmission System Using It 9271094 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 2/23/2016
Entrainment Resistant Feedback Cancellation 9271090 Wolfson Dynamic Hearing Pty Ltd (Richmond, AU) 2/23/2016
Rechargeable Alkali Metal-Air Battery 9269997 Ramot At Tel Aviv University Ltd. (Tel Aviv, IL) 2/23/2016
System and Method for Low Loss Wireless Power Transmission 9270342 Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA) 2/23/2016
Triphasic Pulses to Reduce Undesirable Side-Effects in Cochlear Implants 9265944 Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT) 2/23/2016
Method for Adjusting the Useful Signal in Binaural Hearing Aid Systems and Hearing Aid System 9277333 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 3/01/2016
Eardrum Implantable Devices for Hearing Systems and Methods 9277335 EarLens Corporation (Menlo Park, CA) 3/01/2016
Systems and Methods for Decoupling Multiple Wireless Charging Transmitters 9275791 Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA) 3/01/2016
DC-DC Converter with Enhanced Automatic Switching between CCM and DCM Operating Modes 9276477 STMicroelectronics International N.V. (Amsterdam, NL) 3/01/2016
Method of Processing a Signal in a Hearing Instrument, and Hearing Instrument 9271666 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 3/01/2016
Wirelessly Charged Electronic Device with Shared Inductor Circuitry 9276639 Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA) 3/01/2016
Techniques for Testing Compatibility of a Wireless Communication Device 9277331 PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. (Columbia, MD) 3/01/2016
Systems and Methods for Using a Simplified User Interface for Hearing Prosthesis Fitting 9272142 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 3/01/2016
Class E Amplifier Overload Detection and Prevention 9281711 Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA) 3/01/2016
Wireless System for Hearing Communication Devices Providing Wireless Stereo Reception Modes 9282416 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/08/2016
Thin Battery and Battery Device 9281538 Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP) 3/08/2016
Vision-Aided Hearing Assisting Device 9280914 National Central University (Taoyuan, TW) 3/08/2016
Beamforming in Hearing Aids 9282411 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/08/2016
Spectral contrast enhancement in a cochlear implant speech processor 9288585 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 3/15/2016
Hearing Aid Apparatus 9288589 Yat Yiu Cheung (Hong Kong, Hong Kong) 3/15/2016
Interaural Time Difference Enhancement Strategy 9283376 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 3/15/2016
Hearing Aid for Providing Phone Signals 9288584 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/15/2016
Wireless Binaural Compressor 9288587 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/15/2016
Method and Apparatus for Signal Reception Using Dynamically Selectable Modes 9288586 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/15/2016
Method and Apparatus for Creating Binaural Beats Using Hearing Aids 9288588 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/15/2016
Visually-Based Fitting of Hearing Devices 9288593 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 3/15/2016
Hearing Device and Method of Low Power Operation 9288590 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR) 3/15/2016
Assisting Conversation While Listening to Audio 9288570 Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA) 3/15/2016
Sound processors and implantable cochlear stimulation systems including the same 9294852 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 3/22/2016
Particulate toughened ceramic feedthrough 9289616 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 3/22/2016
Hearing Aid with an Antenna 9293814 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/22/2016
Wind Noise Reduction Filter 9294829 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/22/2016
Adaptation of a Classification of an Audio Signal in a Hearing Aid 9294848 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 3/22/2016
Hearing Assistance Devices with Echo Cancellation

 

9294851 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/22/2016
Parallel Antennas for Standard Fit Hearing Assistance Devices 9294850 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/22/2016
Method and Apparatus for Detecting User Activities from within a Hearing Assistance Device Using a Vibration Sensor 9294849 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/22/2016
Intelligent Battery Pack Module 9293755 Battery Street Energy, Inc. (Seattle, WA) 3/22/2016
Microphone battery barrier 9301065 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 3/29/2016
Method of Processing Voice Signal Output and Earphone 9301060 Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles) 3/29/2016
Hearing Instrument Adapted to Hold an Exchangeable Receiver into the Housing and a Method for Making the Hearing Instrument 9301063 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 3/29/2016
Method for Selecting a Preferred Direction of a Directional Microphone and Corresponding Hearing Device 9301058 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 3/29/2016
System and Method for Measuring and Recording Skull Vibration in Situ 9301061 Audiodontics, LLC (Bethesda, MD) 3/29/2016
Electromechanical Transducer and Electrocoustic Transducer 9301054 Rion Co., Ltd. (Kokubunji-shi-, Tokyo, JP) 3/29/2016
Receiver and method for retrieving an information signal from a magnetic induction signal 9300367 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 3/29/2016
Miniature Speaker and Speaker Cabinet and Hearing Aid 9301067 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 3/29/2016
Antenna for Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Devices 9295848 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 3/29/2016
Acoustic Prescription Rule Based on an in Situ Measured Dynamic Range 9301068 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 3/29/2016
Directionality Device for Auditory Prosthesis Microphone 9295836 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 3/29/2016
Auditory Comprehension and Audibility Device 9301066 Brain Basket, LLC (Boulder, CO) 3/29/2016
Optimized Channel Configuration Based on Spatial Profiles 9295837 Kals, Mathias (Innsbruck, AT) 3/29/2016
Hearing Apparatus and Method for Measuring Distance between Eardrum and Hearing Apparatus 9301056 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR) 3/29/2016
Bone Conduction Hearing Aid System 9301059 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 3/29/2016
Hearing Aid Comprising an Intra-Cochlear Actuator 9313587 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 3/29/2016
MRI Safe Actuator for Implantable Floating Mass Transducer 9301062 Vibrant Med-E1 Hearing Technology GmbH (Innsbruck, AT) 3/29/2016
Noise-Reducing Directional Microphone Array 8942387 MH Acoustics LLC (Summit, NJ) 3/29/2016
Hearing aid removal handle 9301064 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 3/29/2016
Intraneural stimulation systems and methods 9302106 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 4/05/2016
Stapedius reflex measurement safety systems and methods 9307330 Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH) 4/05/2016
Waking Up a Wireless Power Transmitter from Beacon Mode 9306634 Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA) 4/05/2016
Hearing device with selectable perceived spatial positioning of sound sources 9307331 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 4/05/2016
Method for dynamic suppression of surrounding acoustic noise when listening to electrical inputs 9307332 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/05/2016
Device and Method for Audible Transient Noise Detection 9311927 Sony Corporation (Tokyo, JP) 4/12/2016
Hearing Aid Amplifier Having Feed Forward Bias Control Based on Signal Amplitude and Frequency for Reduced Power Consumption 9313590 Envoy Medical Corp. (St. Paul, Minn) 4/12/2016
Hearing Aid and Method of Enhancing Speech Output in Real Time 9313582 Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles) 4/12/2016
Method of Processing a Voice Segment and Hearing Aid 9311933 Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles) 4/12/2016
Method of Fitting a Binaural Hearing Aid System 9313583 Bernafon AG (Berne, Switzerland) 4/12/2016
Method of Operating a Hearing Instrument Based on an Estimation of Present Cognitive Load of a User and a Hearing Aid System 9313585 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/12/2016
Binaural listening system with automatic mode switching 9313577 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/12/2016
Hearing Assistance Suitability Determining Device and Hearing Assistance Suitability Determining Method 9313584 Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP) 4/12/2016
Sensitive Measurements in a Hearing Prosthesis 9308367 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/12/2016
Method and system for configuration of a medical device that stimulates a human physiological system 9313589 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/12/2016
Molding structure for a hearing apparatus, hearing apparatus, and method of producing the molding structure 9313588 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 4/12/2016
Deactivatable hearing device, corresponding hearing system and method for operating a hearing system 9313586 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 4/12/2016
Method and Apparatus for Low Power Operation of Binaural Hearing Aid 9319806 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR) and The Industry & Academic Cooporation in Chungnam National University (IAC) (Daejeon, SK) 4/19/2016
Automatic Identification of Receiver Type in Hearing Aid Devices 9319801 Sivantos GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 4/19/2016
Tube System and Life Tube Adaptor for a Hearing Aid 9318098 Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG) 4/19/2016
Hearing Aid and Method for Controlling the Same 9319803 Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP) 4/19/2016
Method for Fitting a Hearing Aid Device with Active Occlusion Control to a User 9319814 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 4/19/2016
Tip-plate assembly, hearing device with a tip-plate assembly and method of manufacturing a hearing device with a tip-plate assembly 9319817 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 4/19/2016
Method for operating a hearing device as well as a hearing device 9319804 Sonova AG (Staefa, CH) 4/19/2016
Hearing device with closure mechanism 9319811 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 4/19/2016
Hearing Aid Having a near Field Resonant Parasitic Element 9319808 GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 4/19/2016
Fitting system with intelligent visual tools 9319813 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 4/19/2016
System and methods of subject classification based on assessed hearing capabilities 9319812 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
Implantable component of a hearing prosthesis 9319810 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
Device with combined antenna and transducer 9319807 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
Noise reduction in auditory prostheses 9319805 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit 9314625 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
Systems and methods for altering the input dynamic range of an auditory device 9314624 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/19/2016
System and Method for Enhancing the Inductive Coupling between a Hearing Aid Operating in Telecoil Mode and a Communication Device 9326076 AT&T Mobility II LLC (Atlanta) 4/26/2016
Methods and Apparatus for Improving Speech Understanding in a Large Crowd 9326078 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 4/26/2016

 Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in Jan/Feb 2016,  Nov/Dec 2015, Sept/Oct 2015,  Jul/Aug 2015, May/Jun 2015,  Mar/Apr 2015Jan/Feb 2015,  Nov/Dec 2014,  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

Footnotes & References

 

1Pindyck, RS.  Industrial Economics for Strategic Decisions. R&D and Patent Licensing.  MIT Sloan School of Management course. Aug 2013.

 

feature image from USPTO #9288590

 

2 Responses to US Hearing Device Patents March-April 2016

  1. Jerry Miller says:

    Such an informational updates regarding the hearing devices

  2. Love see the new tech and patent updates. Makes us excited for what’s to come in the hearing industry.