back to article Shh! Bose and Apple ink secret deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit

Bose has settled its patent dispute with Apple-owned Beats over noise-cancelling tech for headphones, although details of the deal remain confidential. Bose had sued Beats back in July, claiming that the newly fruity firm infringed on five of its patents for headphones relating to noise-cancelling, a technology Bose said it …

  1. Semtex451 Silver badge

    I suppose they're buying Bose too.

  2. dogged


    Getting silence out of Beats headphones would be a major upgrade.

  3. Ivan Headache


    did Bose enter the headphone market?

    Certainly not in 1974.

    According to the firm's own website, Dr Bose didn't come up with the basic idea for noise cancelling headphones until 1978.

    Therefore any claim that Bose has been working on noise cancelling technology for 40 years is bogus.

    (And I'm sure that I heard a story about RACAL doing noise canelling headgear for pilots at about the same time.)

    1. returnmyjedi

      Re: When

      No wonder Applebeats agreed to settle. Bose have the same grasp on how innovative they are as the fruity ones are (Bose invented noise cancelling, Apple invented anything they decide to copy/adapt/improve).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When

      Perhaps interestingly, the Wikipedia article is little more than a stub so far as history is concerned, but I think I recall reading about the idea in Wireless World in the 1960s. My guess would be that Bose, like RACAL, investigated the idea initially using larger speakers and then Bose realised it could be made to work with headphones.

    3. roger stillick

      Re: When ?? try 1970 when Marine SSB Radio became std...

      Early 1970's the Technical Material Company - TMC - offered a SSB solution to AT&T for upgrading their Costal -Harbor radio telephone systems to world standards (ssb)...

      included was an English discrete Vocoder and an optional IF-shift noise canceller, Plessey later made an Analog Vocoder chip for mobile use... all Plessey chips were used in the AN/PRC-25 Manpack, a portable SSB military radio B/4 secure radio...

      Dr. Bose had the idea of getting the noise signal NOT from the signal itself but from the place it is being listened to / at...and THAT is very much a new idea and very much patentable... Bose proceeded from there to develop the external noise cancelling system thru all their line of stuff and offered to license it to anyone who wanted to use it... everyone came and used it, there are USD $30 Japanese headphones, and there are USD $500 German headphones, all licensed and blessed by Bose.

      Beats Audio / Apple Industries naturally passed, the rest of the World just Laughed and waited for these 2 deadbeats to blink, (and They Just Did)...

      IMHO= to play in a World market you need to always play well with others...Beats / Apple is learning...RS.

      1. Ivan Headache

        Re: When ?? try 1970 when Marine SSB Radio became std...

        The question was "When did Bose enter the headphone Market?" so your answer "try 1970..." is not relevant, nor is any reference to SSB and Plessey.

        I worked in the pro-audio business from about 1970, on and off for about 9 years and then full-time until the end of the 90s.

        In all that time I never saw a pair of Bose headphones. Sennheiser, AKG and Beyer were the dominant pro manufacturers with Koss dominating the domestic hifi side until Sony and Audio-Technica seemed to push them aside. There were other brands, but mostly irrelevant

        According to the Bose website and it's official time-line, Dr Bose conceived the mathematics for noise cancelling-headphones while on a SwissAir flight in 1976. Its prototypes appeared ten years later in 1986 but they were not in production until 1989, and then not available in the consumer space until 2000.

        It is therefore disingenuous (and bogus) for Bose claim that they have been developing noise-cancelling headphones for 40 years,

        Although I can't immediately find proof, I'm convinced that RACAL were using an identical system of 'anti-noise' at the same time that Bose claim to have invented it. (Bose quote: "ANR is a technique to reduce unwanted noise by introducing a second sound source that destructively interferes with the unwanted noise," ). In the claim against Beats, the earliest patent is from 2004 and appears to introduce the digital domain into the second souce sound - something that should be fairly obvious to anyone working in that area.

        Also, your claim that "..everyone came and used it, there are USD $30 Japanese headphones, and there are USD $500 German headphones, all licensed and blessed by Bose." is contradicted by Bose themselves here:

        "Our patents cover our unique approach to active noise cancellation," Carolyn Cinotti, director of public relations at Bose.

        "Other companies may have their own unique approach. We don't license our technology to other headphone manufacturers."

    4. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: When

      1978? If the technology is that old, it should be off-patent by now. Even if Bose patented it sometime in the 1980's.

      1. circuitguy

        Re: When

        the problem with these dates is really about different noise cancelling tech. most pre 78 tech dealt with signal noise issues, but not room noise cancellation. earplugs and headphone noise reduction is the newer and somewhat tougher thing to due. Then there is the materials vs induced negative wave tech...etc....

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ivan Re: When

      Have you ever been near a technical company that made hardware? It's clear you've never worked at one. If Bose marketed their first noise canceling head phones in 1978, then they started working on it years earlier.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    How wonderful !

    But er...who owns the patent on hugely overpriced hype built from inferior components ? It seems to me Bose has a headstart of a few decades at least in this market segment, but wit Apple you never know !

    1. petur

      Re: How wonderful !

      Are you talking about Bose being inferior hype?

      I've never been a Bose fan, but when looking for a small speaker for travel, and having spent too much cash on really inferior crap from JBL, I settled on a Bose soundlink mini.

      It surprises everybody I demonstrate it to. There's a nice user review on youtube [1] comparing the sound from it with a JBL (the sound of the youtube vid was done with a zoom H1 recorder).

      It may not be HiFi, but that's not what I got that tiny speaker for. Kudos for Bose to get that much sound out of such a tiny thing.


      1. Big-nosed Pengie

        Re: How wonderful !

        No comparison. The JBL rig is SO much more natural and realistic.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: JBL rig is SO much more natural

          What's natural about sound that has been digitally processed and is supposed to sound different from the dry track straight from the mic?

  5. Si 1


    I saw a rumour the other day to suggest Apple were about to pull all Bose products from their retail stores as well as the online shop. Perhaps the threat of losing access to the Apple market altogether forced Bose to settle?

    1. Peshman

      Re: Interesting...

      @Si 1 - How does pulling Bose products from Apple stores equate to losing the entire Fanboi market? Bose have their own stores and can be bought at multiple retail outlets not owned by Apple. Their inline mic range for Apple products is a vertical market if anything. They'd survive just fine without them.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re: Interesting...

        I'd be curious to see how many fanbois are really Bose customers anyway. Usually Bose are owned by upper middle class people, especially if said people travel for a living. Sure, a lot of overlap with Apple users there, but I'd assume most Apple fanbois were already Beats fanbois too, which their known penchant for overpriced kit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting...

          Bose and apple are the exact same demographic. All brand name and not much else. Just as there are far better phones than an iphone, there are better active noise cancelling headphones too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting...

        There are people who buy Bose are people who buy things because they look pretty and are expensive. These people also buy iMacs and iPads and iPhones and MacBooks. They'll probably even have a 2nd 30" Apple Cinema Display that they just use for photos.

        These people are easily led when all things Maccy start saying "ooh, these Bose thingies are not right for our kit".

  6. danny_0x98


    Hi. I think confidential settlements are the norm, despite the correspondent's suggestion otherwise.

    But, I'm just a guy who's been reading business news for more than three months, what do I know?

  7. Tristram Shandy

    Invented 1950?

    In 'Silence Please' from 'Tales from The White Hart' published in 1950 Arthur C. Clarke describes a noise-cancelling system that renders whole rooms silent. Maybe his estate should be suing Bose?

    1. EddieD

      Re: Invented 1950?

      ISTR that ended with an humongous explosion

      Oh yeah...and the composer was Edward England...not one of Arthur's most subtle jibes.

  8. bill 27

    Oh a "suit"!

    Here is read that as a "suit". I was trying to figure out why someone would want to wear, especially a "suit", something that would block your hearing. Come to think of it, I might have had uses for it back when I was employed, but I never wore a "suit", and had to attend meetings.

  9. Slabfondler

    I can just imagine the two legal teams...

    Both saying... "I demand the cone of silence!" Hmmm, perhaps that's the tech Bose speak of, it is from te midish 60's?

  10. Slx

    I would love a noise cancelling suit!

    It would be absolute bliss on noisy flights or when my neighbour's 30+ old burglar alarm decides to ring incessantly all night because it's detected a slight breeze or a cat.

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