Klipsch Receives Patent on Skew Horn Design
INDIANAPOLIS (October 24, 2007) — Since 1946, Klipsch has trusted horn-loaded technology to deliver its accurate, efficient and compromise-free acoustics. While Klipsch founder and audio pioneer Paul W. Klipsch received his first loudspeaker horn patent in February 1943, the company’s latest horn patent was issued earlier this month.
Roy Delgado, Klipsch principal engineer of commercial products, designed the skew horn for a loudspeaker, which was issued as patent #7,275,621. Delgado, who has worked for the company for 21 years and secured a total of three patents, also has two other horn designs awaiting patent approval and one in the application stage.
“It took me eight months to design the skew horn. I had some issues along the way but stayed completely motivated as I love a challenge,” said Delgado. “I am glad I stuck with it, as it is now a proprietary technology that lets Klipsch manufacture wide dispersion speakers that fill a broad area with smooth, consistent sound, while also reducing the number of speakers required in an installation.”
The company’s customary horn technology allows its traditional “box” products to deliver a focused, symmetrical sound coverage, but it is a design that doesn’t always suit surround speakers, especially in-wall models. Because they lie flush with the wall, it is very difficult for in-wall surround speakers to cover a wide area with high-performance sound.
The skewed horn solves the problem by providing extraordinarily wide and consistent coverage. It does so by applying either two vertically or horizontally stacked exclusive Skewed Tractrix® Horn-loaded tweeters that point in opposite directions. The technology, currently featured in the Klipsch R-5650-S and KS-7800-THX in-wall surround speakers, outperforms conventional designs by maximizing dispersion, clarity and efficiency, while minimizing room interactions that blur sonic detail.
According to Jim Hunter, Klipsch senior director of engineering operations, applying for a patent is not an easy task. It is a long process that is measured in years. In fact, the company applied for the skewed horn patent in 2004. The process, however, can be drawn out even longer as Klipsch is still waiting to receive a patent on a separate application that was filed six years ago.
Once a “unique” idea is established, it is then up to the Klipsch engineering team to do a patent search. And according to Hunter, many times it is discovered that an idea is not so “unique.” “There’s the old saying, ‘the ancients are stealing our inventions,’" he laughs. “With the millions of patents that are out there, it’s really difficult to be the first one to come up with an exclusive design.”
When a company deems a design concept unique, a patent attorney typically gets involved. The attorney puts a legal spin on the patent application before it is submitted. Then, the application sits in an examiner cue where it waits to be reviewed. Hunter mentioned that an application may have to be re-filed several times before it gets approved.
In addition to be being a lengthy process, patent applications can be very expensive. According to Hunter, it can cost as much as $20,000, with the majority of the amount going towards legal fees, and that’s if everything goes smoothly.
United States patents are good for 17 years. After that, anyone can utilize the information for free. “A patent is an exchange,” said Hunter. “The inventor shows the world how to do something, and the world lets him or her use it exclusively for 17 years.”
List of 30 patents associated with Paul W. Klipsch and/or the Klipsch company:
|2,205,982||June 1940||Firearm Design|
|2,230,803||February 1941||Wave Network|
|2,231,013||February 1941||Prospecting with AC Current|
|2,232,612||February 1941||Recording Seismic Waves|
|2,232,613||February 1941||Seismic Prospecting|
|2,243,418||May 1941||Electrical Prospecting|
|2,251,549||August 1941||Electrical Mixing Circuit|
|2,293,024||August 1942||Methods of Electrical Prospecting|
|2,302,699||November 1942||Firearm Vibration Control|
|2,310,243||February 1943||Loudspeaker Horn|
|2,373,692||April 1945||Loudspeaker Design|
|2,450,003||September 1948||Rotating Band Tester|
|2,537,141||June 1951||High Frequency Horn|
|D-163700||June 1951||Room Corner Loudspeaker|
|2,612,558||September 1952||Crossover Network|
|2,731,101||January 1956||Rebel Loudspeaker|
|3,330,966||July 1967||Logarithmic Converter Circuit|
|D229566||December 1973||Belle Klipsch Loudspeaker|
|4,138,594||February 1979||Folded Horn Loudspeaker|
|D253699||December 1979||Professional Loudspeaker System|
|D253700||December 1979||Professional Midrange Speaker|
|D253819||January 1980||Low Frequency Loudspeaker|
|D254491||March 1980||High Frequency Loudspeaker|
|4,210,233||July 1980||Bifurcated Path Low Frequency Horn|
|4,237,340||December 1980||LB-76 Crossover Network|
|4,387,786||June 1983||Anechoic Chamber Design|
|5,000,286||March 1991||Modular Loudspeaker System|
|5,898,138||April 1999||Loudspeaker Having Horn Loaded Driver and Vent|
|7,275,621||October 2007||Skew Horn for a Loudspeaker|