Andreas Pavel

Andreas Pavel

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Andreas Pavel is a German-Brazilian inventor who is the 'father' of the portable personal stereo
Personal stereo
The personal stereo is the term given to a portable audio player using an audiocassette player. This allows the listening of music through headphones while a person is mobile. The first personal stereo was the Stereobelt invented and patented by Andreas Pavel in 1977. Pavel attempted to...

 cassette player, better known as the Walkman
Walkman is a Sony brand tradename originally used for portable audio cassette, and now used to market Sony's portable audio and video players as well as a line of Sony Ericsson mobile phones...


Born in Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Pavel went to São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

 when he was 6 years old, brought by his father who went to work for the Matarazzo industries. It was in Brazil, in 1972, that he invented his device, the stereobelt
The Stereobelt was the first portable personal stereo audio cassette player. It was invented by the German-Brazilian Andreas Pavel. The Stereobelt was the ancestor of the Walkman and modern-day personal audio devices such as the Zune and the iPod....

. He lived in a modern house in Morumbi
Morumbi is a district of the city of São Paulo belonging to the subprefecture of Butantã, in the southwestern part of the city. A common folk etymology attributes its name to the mixed Portuguese and Tupi phrase morro obi, which would mean "green hill", but this is disputed.Morumbi is between 9...

, and was acquainted to some important personalities of the time, as the journalist Vladimir Herzog
Vladimir Herzog
Vladimir Herzog nicknamed Vlado, was a Brazilian journalist, university professor and playwright of Yugoslavian origin. He also developed a taste for photography, because of his film projects...

 and the poet Augusto de Campos
Augusto de Campos
Augusto de Campos is a Brazilian writer who was a founder of the Concrete poetry movement in Brazil. He is also a translator, music critic and visual artist....

Over the next few years he tried to interest companies like Grundig, Philips, and Yamaha in manufacturing it. In 1977, Pavel filed a patent in Italy on the device, followed by patents in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Japan. He moved to Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 aged 30 years old.

In 1979, Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 began selling the popular Walkman, and in 1980 started legal talks with Pavel regarding a royalty fee
Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

. In 1986 Sony finally agreed to pay royalties to Pavel, but only for sales in Germany, and only for a few models, and refused to acknowledge him as the inventor of the device.

In 1989, Andreas Pavel started new proceedings, this time going through the law courts in the UK. Seven years later, the case was dismissed and Pavel was left with $3.6 million dollars of debt for his court costs. Then in 2001, Pavel threatened Sony with legal suits in every country in which he had patented his invention. The corporation agreed to resume talks with Pavel and a settlement was finally reached in 2003.

The exact settlement fee is a closely guarded secret but European press accounts said that Pavel received a cash settlement for damages in excess of $10,000,000 and is now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales. The settlement also includes a clause which will prevent Pavel from bringing future law suits. The settlement grants Pavel the recognition from Sony that he was the original inventor of the Walkman; this apparently could only be achieved after the death of Akio Morita
Akio Morita
Akio Morita KBE was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony Corporation along with Masaru Ibuka.-Early life:...

, the founder of Sony and previously-recognised creator of the personal stereo
Personal stereo
The personal stereo is the term given to a portable audio player using an audiocassette player. This allows the listening of music through headphones while a person is mobile. The first personal stereo was the Stereobelt invented and patented by Andreas Pavel in 1977. Pavel attempted to...


Pavel reportedly had considered asking manufacturers of MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

 music players for royalties, including Apple
Apple Computer
Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

 (for their popular iPod
iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle...

player). However, in December 2005 he said he did not intend to do so, not wishing to spend further time fighting lawsuits.

He is now developing what he calls a "dreamkit", a "hand-held, multimedia, sense-extension device".