Hearing Aid Maker Sues Apple Over EarPods Name

| News

Apple has been hit with yet another lawsuit, although this time it's over the EarPods trademark and comes from hearing aid maker Randolph Divisions. The lawsuit alleged that Apple's EarPods headphones that ship with the iPhone 5 infringe on the HearPod trademark and product.

Hearing aid maker sues Apple over EarPods nameHearing aid maker sues Apple over EarPods name

Randolph Divisions claimed in its filing that Apple's EarPods name is close enough to HearPod to be confusing to consumers shopping for digital hearing aids. To back up the notion that Apple's in-ear headphones are close enough to be confused with the HearPod hearing aid, the filing stated,

Both Plaintiffs' Goods and Defendant's Goods are similar in nature in that, among other things, they are inserted into the ears of their users and are used to facilitate and enhance the transmission of sounds to the users.

The company also owns the earpod.com domain, which redirects to its own myhearpod.com website -- a site that's clearly hearing aid-related. Considering the nature of the site, it seems more likely shoppers looking for Apple's own earbuds would be more confused than hearing aid users on the hunt for a new model.

Randolph Divisions has held a trademark on HearPod since 2007, and while EarPods sounds similar, the company will have to convince a court that Apple is confusing consumers with its product. While it's possible someone could buy Apple's US$29 EarPods thinking they're purchasing a hearing aid is possible, it doesn't seem very likely -- especially since the HearPod hearing aid price starts at $379, and goes up to nearly $1,100.

Apple has filed for, but has not yet been granted, trademarks for EarPods and Apple EarPods.

Apple has not commented on the Randolph Divisions lawsuit.

[Thanks to The Next Web for the heads up]

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

Assuming Apple really is infringing on the HearPod trademark, the company needs to find a way to swing a deal with Randolph Divisions, which presumably means writing a big check. Considering the different nature of HearPod hearing aids and EarPods stereo headphones, the Randolph Divisions may have a hard time making its case.

Popular TMO Stories


Lee Dronick

As someone who is married to a hearing impaired person I am pretty certain that any confusion would be short-lived and not result in a loss of sale.


Different market
Dissimilar product
Different name
Sorry bit I don’t see much grounds for infringement.



How could anyone possibly confuse EarPods with hearing aids? Hearing aids don’t have tell-tale white cords attached to them, do they?

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account