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: 

Patent # Date Description
 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
 2,238,023  April 1941  Equalizer
 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