Apple granted patent for earbud with biometric sensing - what prior art has been missed?

Apple have recently been granted US9838775 for Earbuds with biometric sensing.

Apple earbud.gif

This patent has a priority date of Sep 2015, and has 73 patent citations.

But was the prior art search complete? To answer this question, we will enter this patent number into Ambercite, and run a search for the most similar 250 patents filed before October 2015.

Earbud search.gif

This search returned, not surprisingly, 250 results. But since we are looking for new prior art, we fill filter the results in two ways. Firstly, we will restrict the results to “Unknown” citations, i.e. not previously recognised as prior art, using the filter shown below:

Secondly, we will restrict the results to those containing the text ‘ear’ in the title or abstract;

ear in title or abstract.gif

And while we are at, we will highlight the terms ear, sens* and biometric*

Keywords highlight.gif

And the results? Check out the link below, which provides a full list of the results in a fully interactive form, found using the above process. I think US2009105548A1 In-ear biometrics is pretty relevant, but there are others.

But - surely it can’t be this easy to find new prior art?

Yes, it can be using Ambercite, and we even offer free trials.

Mike Lloyd