In a preliminary ruling from a US International Trade Commission judge, a judge has ruled that Google has infringed on 5 patents held by Sonos. Seems like the small audio company is out to get the tech giant and won’t rest till Google’s laptops, phones, and speakers are banned from the market (which is a story for another lawsuit).
Sonos sued Google for allegedly stealing their smart speaker technology through a partnership in 2013 which allowed the company access to their multiroom speaker technology. Sonos claimed that it started warning Google about infringement issues back in 2016 after Google announced its Home smart speaker that housed similar technology to Sonos’ previous systems. The warnings continued till 2018 when Google released Home Max and Home Mini but Google paid no heed to them. So by 2019, Sonos had accused Google of infringing on five Sonos patents which included mesh networking, echo cancellation, DARM, content notifications and personalized search. “Google is an important partner with whom we have collaborated successfully for years, including bringing the Google Assistant to the Sonos platform last year. However, Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology in creating its audio products,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence commented.
The lawsuit began in early 2020 with Sonos demanding a sales ban on Google products including Nest Hubs, Chromecasts and Pixel phones, all for which it claimed Google stole their technology. In response, Google filed a countersuit which was tackled by Sonos by adding in another lawsuit and accusing Google of five more patent infringements. The commission ruled Google guilty of infringing on all five patents mentioned in the original lawsuit. However, this was just an initial ruling and the final decision would be taken by the International Trade Commission on 13th December 2021. While this would clear up the original lawsuit against Google, the two tech companies will still be engrossed in a long legal battle till all their lawsuits are cleared up.