Judge rules that Google violated Sonos’s wireless audio patents
In January last year, Sonos filed two lawsuits against Google, claiming that the latter stole its multiroom speaker technology and infringed on 100 patents. While Google initially disputed the claims, the company countersued Sonos a few months down the line, alleging that it had infringed on five patents related to mesh networking, echo cancellation, DRM, content notifications, and personalized search.
In September last year, the legal battle took another turn when Sonos filed yet another patent lawsuit against Google, alleging that the latter’s entire line of Chromecast and Nest products violated five of Sonos’ wireless audio patents. After over a year of battling the tech giant in court, Sonos has now finally received a favorable judgment.
According to a recent report from CNBC, a U.S. trade judge on Friday ruled that Alphabet’s Google infringed five of Sonos’ patents related to smart speakers. However, the ruling did not explain why Google’s sale of its smart speaker lineup violated a 1930 federal tariff law designed to prevent unfair competition.
In response to the ruling, a spokesperson from Sonos said that the company was pleased with the preliminary ruling, which “confirmed Google’s blatant infringement” and furthered its efforts to defend its technology against alleged misappropriation by larger rivals. Google, on the other hand, did not respond to requests for comment. Friday’s ruling is subject to review by the full International Trade Commission (ITC), which is scheduled for December 13th.
It’s worth mentioning that Sonos has also demanded legal action against Google to force voice interoperability on smart speakers earlier this year. The audio manufacturer has developed a technology that allows the concurrent use of multiple voice assistants on smart speakers. However, Google prohibits this. If Sonos manages to force Google to adopt voice interoperability on smart speakers, we could see speakers from third-party manufacturers with both Google Assistant and Alexa built-in.