Google, owned by Alphabet, should go to trial on May 8 on the patent infringement case brought against it by speaker maker Sonos.
In 2020, Santa Barbara-based Sonos sued Google for patent infringement, accusing it of infringing five Sonos patents related to speaker functionality.
“Nearly a decade after Sonos created the smart speaker market, Google entered the space. Initially, Google sought to work with Sonos, and through these efforts gained access to engineers, products and technologies from Sonos,” Sonos said in its September 2020 lawsuit.
The speaker maker has accused Google of developing and selling products that copy Sonos technology.
The pair worked with Google in late 2011 to integrate the Google Play Music service into the Sonos ecosystem. This led to the launch of Google Play Music on the Sonos platform in 2014.
However, in 2015, Google began “deliberately infringing Sonos’ patents,” leading to the launch of Chromecast Audio, Sonos said in its lawsuit.
In 2019, Sonos added Google Assistant support to its app. At the time, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence called the integration a “major milestone for the industry”, adding that the company is committed to having multiple voice assistants on its app “as soon as possible”.
But in its 2020 lawsuit, Sonos claimed Google’s misappropriation of its patented technology proliferated in 2015 when the tech giant expanded its wireless multi-room audio system to more than a dozen counterfeit products, of which the Google Home Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max and Pixel phones, tablets and laptops.
Sonos is seeking damages and a ban on the sale of Google’s speakers, smartphones and laptops in the United States. By 2021, the Royal Bank of Canada estimated that Google had sold more than 100 million Google Home devices in the United States alone, generating more than $8 billion in revenue.
In response to the allegations, Google, in a separate court filing in September 2020, said Sonos’ litigation campaign damaged the reputation of its products.
Google said Sonos asked for its help in 2013 to integrate with Google’s Play Music service.
“Google provided this support to Sonos and provided significant engineering, technical support and other resources to integrate Sonos products into Google’s Play Music service in 2014,” the technology company said.
Google added that Sonos made “false statements” about its shared work and Google’s technology in a lawsuit filed against Google.
US District Judge William Alsup invalidated one of the patents Sonos accused Google of infringing. Alsup ruled that Google did not infringe any of the patents.
However, he denied Google’s request to revoke the other two patents ahead of the May 8 trial.
Reuters recently reported that Sonos won a limited import ban on certain Google devices from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last year, while Google sued Sonos for patent infringement at the ITC and in California.
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