US Hearing Device Patent Activity for September-October 2015

Patent policing of ear device technologies is big news these days, as are the patent wars they spawn. Nowadays, “Honoring a patent” is less an ethical concept than a court-ordered process; patents are more assets on the balance sheet than they are original inventions.


New Definitions for Old Terms and Devices


In the words of retired Chief Judge Paul Redmond Michel (US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit):

“…a patent [is] a ticket to file a lawsuit. That’s all it is. So then patent values follow enforceability. The less enforceable the patent is in various ways, the lower the value of the patent for the whole portfolio.{{1}}[[1]][[1]]

Patent value/enforceability seems, to the layman, to mean defining an idea broadly enough to cover all that one wants protected, but narrowly enough to be enforceable. Which may explain the title and wording of Samsung’s USPTO #9161138:

Title:  Method for Adapting Sound of Hearing Aid and hearing Aid and Electronic Device Performing the Same.

“Head-worn devices with transceivers for wireless communication with other devices and with other functions that do not require wireless communication are well-known, e.g. hearing aids.”

Samsung’s debut into the hearing aid world may carry a brand other than “hearing aid.”  Let’s hope it’s catchier than “electronic device performing the same.


  The Patent List


DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Custom In-Ear Monitor9113266Aurisonics, inc. (Nashville, TN)8/18/2015
Transmitting Audio Control Data to a Hearing AidGoogle Inc. (Mountain View, CA)8/25/2015
Implantable Sound Transmission Device for Magnetic Hearing Aid, and Corresponding Systems, Devices and Components9119010Sophono, Inc. (Boulder, CO)8/25/2015
Systems and Methods for High Power Factor Charging9118185Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)8/25/2015
Systems and Methods for Controlling Output Power of a Wireless Power Transmitter9118357Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)8/25/2015
Systems and Methods for Induction Charging with a Closed Magnetic Loop9118203Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)8/25/2015
Feedback control in a Listening Device9124986Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)9/01/2015
Hearing Aid, Signal Processing Method, and Program9124984Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co. Ltd. (Osaka, Japan)9/01/2015
Cochlear implant system component having multiple electrode assemblies9119957Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/01/2015
Methods and Apparatus for Processing Audio Signals9130523Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)9/08/2015
Method and Apparatus for Communication between Hearing Assistance Devices in a Bluetooth Network9131322Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)9/08/2015
Method for Selectively Passing or Blocking Environmental Ambient Sound and Switchable Electrical Connections9131311Polk Audio, LLC (Baltimore, MD)9/08/2015
Reduction of Transient Sounds in Hearing Implants9126041MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)9/08/2015
Wireless Power Overvoltage Protection Circuit with Reduced Power Dissipation9130369Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)9/08/2015
Audio Device with a Voice Coil Channel and a Separately Amplified Telecoil Channel9131320Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)9/08/2015
Implantable Acoustic Sensor9126040Hearworks Pty, Limited (East Melbourne, Victoria, AU)9/08/2015
Optimizing Operational Control of a Hearing Prosthesis9131324Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/08/2015
Hearing prosthesis having an implantable actuator system9131323Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/08/2015
Method and system for providing hearing assistance to a user9131318Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)9/08/2015
Portable power charging of implantable medical devices9132276Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/15/2015
Hearing Aid Comprising a Feedback Alarm9137612Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)9/15/2015
Bone Anchored Hearing Aid with Adjustable Resonance Damping9137614Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)9/15/2015
Ear strap for a probe tube9137615Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)9/15/2015
Metal Air Cathode Manganese Oxide Contained in Octahedral Molecular Sieve9136540Spectrum Brands, Inc. (Madison, WI)9/15/2015
Wireless Sound Transmission System and Method137613Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)9/15/2015
Moisture resistant headpieces and implantable cochlear stimulation systems including the same9132270Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)9/15/2015
Blast Attenuating Earplug9138352The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)9/22/2015
In-Ear Earpiece and Expansion Adaptor9143855Sennheiser Electronics GmbH & Co KG (Wedemark, DE)9/22/2015
Method and System for Self-Managed Sound Enhancement9138178Ace Communications Ltd. (Hong Kong Sar, China)9/22/2015
Micro Converter, Audio Device and Hearing Aid9143871Exsilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam)9/22/2015
Bottom Port Surface Mount MEMS Microphone9139422Knowles Electronics, LLC (Itasca, IL)9/22/2015
Systems, Methods, and Apparatus for Small Device Wireless Charging Modes912999Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)9/22/2015
Hearing device comprising a locking mechanism for an external connector and method9143874Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)9/22/2015
Wireless Streaming Link Break-In9143872Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/22/2015
Inter-chip communications for implantable stimulating devices9141576Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/22/2015
Methods and Apparatus for Transmitting Vibrations9143873Abolfathi, Amir A.  (Woodside, CA)9/22/2015
Vestibular Implant System with Internal and External Motion Sensors914467Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)9/29/2015
Systems and Methods for Calibration of a Wireless Power Transmitter9148201Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)9/29/2015
Method for Testing Hearing Aids9148732Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)9/29/2015
Implant Magnet System9144676Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/29/2015
Feedback Path Evaluation Implemented with Limited Signal Processing9148734Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/29/2015
Automatic Power-Off of Hearing Aid9148737Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)9/29/2015
Reduced Power Usage for a Hearing Prosthesis Having Transcutaneous Power and Data Transfer9148736Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)9/29/2015
Hearing Aid with Improved Localization9148733 & 9148735GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)9/29/2015
Device, Method, and Program for Adjustment of Hearing Aid9149202Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co. Ltd. (Osaka, Japan)10/02/2015
Mobile Communication Watch Utilizing Projected Directional Sound9152130PH Technical Labs LLC (Plano, Texas)10/06/2015
System and Method for Hearing Aid Appraisal and Selection9154888Eastern Ontario Audiology Consultants (L’Original, Canada)10/06/2015
Hearing instrument with a balloon and a separate sound channel and air supply channel9154892Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)10/06/2015
Wireless data transmission with predictive transmission adjustment9154890Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/06/2015
Hearing Aid Having Level and Frequency-Dependent Gain9154889Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. (Berkeley, CA)10/06/2015
Hearing System Having Improved High Frequency Response9154891EarLens Corp (Menlo Park, CA)10/06/2015
Wireless Power Orthogonal Polarization Antenna Array9153998Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)10/06/2015
Wireless Power System with Capacitive Proximity Sensing9154189Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)10/06/2015
BTE Hearing Instrument with Housing and Sound Tube9161143Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)10/13/2015
Cochlear Implant Systems Including Magnetic Flux Redirection Means9155888Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH)10/13/2015
Dynamic Audio Parameter Adjustment Using Touch Sensing9160829Apple Inc. (Cupertino, Calif)10/13/2015
Stereo Audio Headphone Apparatus for a User Having a Hearing Loss and Related Methods9161131K&E Holdings LLC (Lakeland, Fla)10/13/2015
Push Button Insertion Tool Systems9161142Dennis Wagner (Nescopeck, PA)10/13/2015
Earmolds9161114Treefrog Developments, Inc. (San Diego, CA)10/13/2015
Medical Device Battery Charging System and Methods9155900Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/13/2015
Medical Device Diagnostics Using a Portable Device9158891Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/13/2015
Optical Microphone for Implantable Hearing Instrument9155660Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/13/2015
Medical Device for Lessening the Effects of Noise and Interference from Varying or Alternating Magnetic Fields9161140Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/13/2015
Fitting an auditory prosthesis9155886Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/13/2015
Method and Apparatus for Detecting Cellular Telephones for Hearing Assistance Devices9161139Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)10/13/2015
Telecommunications Methods and Systems Providing User Specific Audio Optimization9161136Avaya Inc. (Basking Ridge, NJ)10/13/2015
Mixing of In-the-Ear Microphone and Outside-the-Ear Microphone Signals to Enhance Spatial Perception9161137Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)10/13/2015
Head-Worn Device with Flight Mode9161138GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)10/13/2015
Methods and Systems for Observation of Tympanic Function9155459Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)10/13/2015
Corded Hearing Protective Device and Method of Manufacturing the Same91556613M Innovative Properties Company (St. Paul, MN)10/13/2015
Method and Device for Encoding a High Frequency Signal, and Method and Device for Decoding a High Frequency Signal9161038Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (Shenzhen, CN)10/13/2015
Wireless Charging System for Hearing Instruments9161141Siemens Aktiengesellschaft (Munich, DE)10/13/2015
Electrode with Movable Insertion Stopper9155880MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)10/13/2015
Threshold-derived fitting method for frequency translation in hearing assistance devices9167366Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)10/20/2015
Antennas for custom fit hearing assistance devices9167360Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)10/20/2015
Electrooculogram as a control in a hearing assistance device9167356Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)10/20/2015
Implantable Receptacle for a Hearing Aid Component9167362OtiKinetics, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH)10/20/2015
Method for the Binaural Left-Right Localization for Hearing Instruments9167358Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)10/20/2015
Valve apparatus, hearing device with the valve apparatus, and method


9167328Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)10/20/2015
Method for the binaural left-right localization for hearing instruments9167357Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)10/20/2015
Hearing system and method for operating a hearing system9167359Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)10/20/2015
Smoothing power consumption of an active medical device9167361Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/20/2015
Magnetic induction communication system for an implantable medical device9166655Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/20/2015
Post-filter common-gain determination9166546Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/20/2015
Implantable component interface9162054Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/20/2015
Drug delivery using a sacrificial host9162009Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/20/2015
Speech enhancement system and method9173028Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)10/27/2015
Method for Fine Tuning a Hearing Aid9173043Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)10/27/2015

Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in 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

feature image adapted from hearing tracker

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.