US Hearing Device Patent Approvals for July and August 2014

Patents are a growing concern in importance the hearing industry, both in number and lawsuits.  MIMs technology is big, especially now that Knowles won a patent ruling allowing it to “develop and improve [MIMs] for the HA industry.”  For those of us unfamiliar with the acronym or its impact on our industry and its company’s stock, Knowles subsequently spelled it out in a July 24 press release:

Knowles achieved a major milestone in the hearing health industry by shipping its two millionth MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) microphone for hearing instruments.  

Starkey has used Knowles’ tiny MIMs mics since 2010 and you’ll find them in other manufacturers’ products, including GN ReSound LiNX.

Manwhile, trouble is brewing at the US Patent Office. Institutional confidence took a hit the other day after two investigative reports questioned competence and efficiency of the patent process.  With over 600K patent filings awaiting review, there is concern about slow processes and lax standards.

Here’s the list for the last two months. Readers can judge the importance of individual entries for themselves.  I’ll have more to say about one of them in a few weeks.  I think it’s a sleeper with big implications.  For those who like to look for needles in haystacks, see if you can find it.

DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Method and System for Enhancing the Intelligibility of Sounds8755547Hear IP Pty Ltd. (Melbourne, Victoria, AU)6/17/2014
Tools, Systems, and Methods for Inserting a Pre-Curved Electrode Array Portion of a Lead into a Bodily Orifice8753352Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)6/17/2014
Piezoelectric Nanowire Vibration Sensors8758217Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Atlanta, GA)6/24/2014
Bone Conduction Transducer with Improved High Frequency Response8761416Osseofon AB (Gothenburg, SE)6/24/2014
Compensation Current Optimization for Cochlear Implant Systems8761894Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)6/24/2014
Hearing Aid with a Child-Proof Battery Compartment8767990Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)7/01/2014
Methods and Systems for Providing Visual Cues to Assist in Fitting a Cochlear Implant Patient8768479Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)7/01/2014
Method and Apparatus for a Hearing Assistance Device Using MEMS Sensos8767989Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)7/01/2014
Method and Apparatus for Hearing Aid Subscription Support8767986Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)7/01/2014
Ear Contact Pressure Wave Hearing Aid Switch8767987IntriCon Corporation (Arden Hills, MN)7/01/2014
Method of Manufacturing a Component for a Hearing Aid8763238Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)7/01/2014
Auto-Fit Hearing Aid and Fitting Process Therefor8767972Apherma LLC (St. Paul, Minn.)7/01/2014
Resonant Structure to Mitigate near Field Radiation Generated by Wireless Communication Devices8766868Motorola Mobility LLC (Chicago)7/01/2014
Signal Evaluation in Binaural and Hybrid Hearing Prosthesis Configurations8768478Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/01/2014
Methods and Systems of Conveying Fine Structure Information to a Cochlear Implant Patient8768475Advanced Bionics, LLC (Valencia, CA)7/01/2014
Methods and Systems of Compensating for a Disabled Electrode8768476Advanced Bionics, LLC (Valencia, CA)7/01/2014
Microphone Module with Sound Pipe8767982Invensense, Inc. (San Jose, CA)7/01/2014
Audio Device, System and Method8774435Asius Technologies LLC (Longmont, Colo.)7/08/2014
Electromagnetic Bone Conduction Hearing Device8774930Vibrant Med-El Hearing Technology GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)7/08/2014
Self-Adjustable and Deforming Hearing Device8774434Yong D. Zhao (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Jennifer Jinping Zhao (Simi Valley, Calif.)7/08/2014
Middle Ear Implant for Otosclerosis8771167Vibrant Med-E1 Hearing Technology GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)7/08/2014
Cochlear Implant Component Having a Unitary Faceplate8774929Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/08/2014
Tools, Systems, and Methods for Inserting an Electrode Array Portion of a Lead into a Bodily Orifice8774944Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)7/08/2014
Very Low Power MEMS Microphone8774428Invensense, Inc. (San Jose, CA)7/08/2014
Hearing Aid with Improved Magnetic Reception during Wireless Communication8781143GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)7/15/2014
Modular Connection Assembly for a Hearing Assistance Device8781141Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)7/15/2014
Attachment of a Hook to a Hearing Device8781144Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)7/15/2014
Methods and Systems for Providing near Real Time Messaging to Hearing Impaired User during Telephone Calls8781510Mobile Captions Company LLC (San Diego, CA)7/15/2014
Low-Power Dual-Edge-Triggered Storage Cell with Scan Test Support and Clock Gating Circuit Therefor8786344Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)7/22/2014
Remote Control of Hearing Assistance Devices878760Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)7/22/2014
Frequency Translation in Hearing Assistance Devices Using Additive Spectral Synthesis8787605Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)7/22/2014
Methods and Systems for Minimizing a Perceptual Disturbance Caused by Shorted Electrodes in an Auditory Prosthesis System8788052Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)7/22/2014
Transcutaneous capacitive Data Link8788051Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Hearing Prosthesis System Having Interchangeable Housings8788050Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Method and Circuitry for Measurement of Stimulation Current8788032Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Vibration Isolation in a Bone Conduction Device8787608Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Percutaneous Bone Conduction Implant8787607Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Recognition of Implantable Medical Device8784312Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Manufacturing an Electrode Assembly Having Contoured Electrode Contact Surfaces8782884Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/22/2014
Implantable Tissue Stimulating Electrode Assembly8792999Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/29/2014
Headword Sound Processor Case8792664Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/29/2014
Securable Implantable Component8790409Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/29/2014
Mechanical Stimulator Having a Quick-Connector8790237Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)7/29/2014
Asymmetric Adjustment8792659GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)7/29/2014
Hearing Device with an Open Earpiece Having a Short Vent8792663GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)7/29/2014
Hearing Aids, Computing Devices, and Methods for Hearing Aid Profile Update8792661Audiotoniq Inc. (Austin, Texas)7/29/2014
Foreign Material Mitigation for Hearing Assistance Device Components8792665Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)7/29/2014
Earphone System and Use of an Earphone System8792669Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)7/29/2014
Hearing System with Analogue Control Element8792660Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)7/29/2014
Hearing Aid, Expansion Unit and Method for Manufacturing a Hearing Aid8798294ExSilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam)8/05/2014
Magnetic Shielding for Communication Device Applications798299Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)8/05/2014
Constrained Layer Damping for Hearing Assistance Devices8798293Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)8/05/2014
Listening System with an Improved Feedback Cancellation System, a Method and Use8798297Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)8/05/2014
Removable Implantable Battery Positioned Inside Implant Coil8798752Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)8/05/2014
Method and Device for Automated Observation Fitting8798757Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)8/05/2014
Method for Operating a Hearing Device as Well as a Hearing Device8787603/8798296Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)7/22/2014 & 8/05/2014
Method for Deploying Hearing Instrument Fitting Software, and Hearing Instrument Adapted Therefor8798295Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)8/05/2014
Extra-Cochlear Implanted Hearing Aid Device8805547Domestic Legacy LP (Indianapolis)8/12/2014
Ear Tip Piece for Attenuating Sound8800712Magnatone Hearing Aid Corp. (Casselberry, Fla)8/12/2014
Method of Determining Parameters in an Adaptive Audio Processing Algorithm and an Audio Processing System8804979Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)8/12/2014
Control of Low Power or Standby Modes of a Hearing Assistance Device8804988Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)8/12/2014
Hearing Aid Device and Method for Operating a Hearing Aid Device8811641Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)8/19/2014
Dual Setting Method for a Hearing System8811622Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)8/19/2014
Audible Assistance8811638Elwha LLC (Bellevue, Wash)8/19/2014
Canal Hearing Devices and Batteries for Use with Same8808906InSound Medical Inc. (Newark, Calif.)8/19/2014
Hearing Assistance Apparatus Having Single Multipurpose Control Device and Method of Operation8811642Daniel R. Schumaier (Johnson City, Tenn.)8/19/2014
Range Control for Wireless Hearing Assistance Device Systems8811639Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)8/19/2014
Method and Apparatus for Detecting User Activities from within a Hearing Assistance Device Using a Vibration Sensor8811637Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)8/19/2014
Mechanical Stimulator Having a Quick-Connector8790237Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)8/19/2104

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


image courtesy of psu edu

About Holly Hosford-Dunn

Holly Hosford-Dunn, PhD, graduated with a BA and MA in Communication Disorders from New Mexico State, completed a PhD in Hearing Sciences at Stanford, and did post-docs at Max Planck Institute (Germany) and Eaton-Peabody Auditory Physiology Lab (Boston). Post-education, she directed the Stanford University Audiology Clinic; developed multi-office private practices in Arizona; authored/edited numerous text books, chapters, journals, and articles; and taught Marketing, Practice Management, Hearing Science, Auditory Electrophysiology, and Amplification in a variety of academic settings.