Following a 3-year dispute, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of plaintiff Hearing Components, Oakdale, Minn, versus defendant Shure Inc, Chicago, on infringement and validity of two patents on the use of foam tips and sound isolation earphones.

Hearing Components notes that it holds a strong portfolio of patents incorporated into its products – including its Comply Foam Tips, which focus on improving the interface of the ear and personal audio devices.

In May 2007, Hearing Components filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Shure in the US District Court in East Texas involving Shure’s earphone products. The lawsuit accused Shure of infringing two patents held by Hearing Components, both related to the use of replaceable foam tips in combination with earphones to provide sound isolation. Specifically, the patent infringement focused on Shure’s disposable earphone tips made of soft foam that connect to earphone devices by straight and barbed nozzle fasteners, and funnel sound into the ear canal.

In January 2009, in the District Court, Hearing Components won jury and bench trials, which were subsequently appealed.

In April 2010, the appellate court ruled in favor of Hearing Components, affirming a jury verdict that should result in an award to the company of just under $5 million for the two counts. The court also ruled that a third Hearing Components patent for wax guards for hearing devices should be incorporated back into the infringement lawsuit against Shure.

“The products patented by Hearing Components were developed from years of research,” says Hearing Components President/CEO Bob Oliveira, PhD. “We take our intellectual property very seriously and are glad to have resolution of the use of foam tips on hearing devices.”

Comply Foam Tips and Comply Whoomp! Earbud Enhancers are manufactured and sold by Hearing Components, a 3M spinoff founded in1990 by Oliveira, a biochemist and  patented inventor. In addition to broad applications in consumer electronics, the technology is
currently used in hearing aids, military and general aviation communications, and in industrial high-noise environments.

[Source: Hearing Components]