They were just issued their first patent on a personal portable integrator for a music player and mobile phone (US Patent 7,187,948). It’s a smart device that links your cellphone and music player with the ability to override music when you have a call – aptly named “The LINK.”
Skullcandy originally filed the patent application back in 2002 and with their Park City, Utah address its no wonder their gear is aimed at the snow crowd. They even have helments which integrate The LINK device into the helmet.
Skullcandy didn’t get everything they were looking for from their patent application. Specifically, their current wired version of The LINK is not covered by this patent, only a wireless version. Given they’ve got good attorneys, they likely took the claims they could get now and are still seeking broader claims in a divisional patent application.
Here are the details on the claim:
1. A portable and wireless apparatus for wirelessly integrating a two-way communication device and an audio delivery device, wherein the portable and wireless apparatus is configured in size and shape to be portably carried in either a hand of a user or an article of clothing during use of the portable and wireless apparatus, the portable and wireless apparatus comprising: means for wirelessly receiving a first audio signal from a substantially arbitrarily selectable audio delivery device; means for wirelessly receiving a second audio signal from a substantially arbitrarily selectable two-way communication device; a coupling device independent from the audio and two-way communication devices, wherein the second audio signal is characterized by a threshold value, the second audio signal is accorded priority relative to the first audio signal, and the second audio signal interrupts the first audio signal upon reaching the threshold value, the coupling device comprising said means for receiving said first and second audio signals, said coupling means further comprising: means for transmitting a third audio signal comprising at least one of the first or second audio signals to an acoustic device adapted to convert the third acoustic wave to an audio range corresponding to a hearing range of a user.
What does it all mean? Well in a round about way (Apple place your hands over your ears) for those that can’t afford or don’t want the iPhone – the claims teach a 3rd device which connects a cell phone and portable music player and determines priority of the two devices.
So the current and any future versions of The LINK are the rich man’s iPhone for the interim or a nice addition if you’ve already got an iPod/Zune and a cell phone, oh wait, that’s most of us.