Tech

Google Appears to Have Infringed 5 Sonos Patents According to the US ITC

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated August 14, 2021

Back in January 2020, Sonos filed a lawsuit against Google in the Federal District Court of Los Angeles, accusing the tech giant of infringing several patents that belong to them. The audio products firm also brought the matter to the attention of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), who has just released a preliminary ruling on the matter. As it seems, the ITC is vindicating Sonos as it agrees with the allegations, finding infringements on U.S patent numbers “9,195,258”, “10,209.953”, “9,219,959”, “8,588,949”, and “10,439,896”.

These five patents are the exact same that Sonos put forth in its lawsuit, so they are extremely pleased with ITC’s confirmation. As Eddie Lazarus, the Chief Legal Officer of the firm, stated on the media:

Today the Administrative Law Judge has found all five of Sonos' asserted patents to be valid and that Google infringes on all five patents. We are pleased the ITC has confirmed Google's blatant infringement of Sonos' patented inventions. This decision re-affirms the strength and breadth of our portfolio, marking a promising milestone in our long-term pursuit to defend our innovation against misappropriation by Big Tech monopolies.

All of this means that some of Google’s smart speakers (‘Home’ line) use technology patented by Sonos while not having negotiated a license to do so. As such, it’s possible that Google will now be handed a cease and desist order by the ITC and will also pay damage compensation to Sonos for using its tech unilaterally and gaining an unfair market advantage.

Sonos may have entered the AI-powered speakers' space somewhat late, but they are clearly competing with those who sought to establish themselves quickly. Back in November 2019, the firm acquired Snips AI for $37.5 million, which opened the way for marking privacy-focused products, something unique in the particular field.

Google hasn’t stayed inactive against the Sonos threat, so they sued them too in November 2020, alleging the violation of five patents of its own. The five patents concern DRM tech, mesh networking, echo and noise control, content availability notifications, and personalized network searching. This was seen as a retaliative act that had unstable legal ground by Sonos’ leadership, which accused Google of abusing its size and breadth to drag the smaller firm into a lengthy and costly dispute.



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