Sonos wins patent lawsuit against Google2022-01-07 17:24 by Daniela
The US International Trade Commission has ruled that Google is in violation of five Sonos patents relating to smart speakers. The commission spent two years investigating whether Google had violated the Tariff Act of 1930, a law established to prevent unfair competition from imported products that violate U.S. patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The commission had been in deliberations since last August, after a judge had preliminarily ruled Google had infringed on patents.
Sonos had asked the ITC to ban imports of Google products that infringe on its patents, including Google Home smart speakers, Pixel smartphones, and Chromecast devices. A Google spokesman told Bloomberg that it had been working to redesign its products after the preliminary ruling last August to avoid infringing on Sonos patents so there would be no disruption in sales.
Sonos essentially invented the connected speaker category for streaming music, but the advent of voice assistants has led to Big Tech stomping all over Sonos' territory. Sonos says that while it was pitching Google for support of Google Play Music, Google got a behind-the-scenes look at Sonos' operations in 2013. Sonos says Google used that access to "blatantly and knowingly" copy Sonos' features for the Google Home speaker, which launched in 2016. Sonos sued Google in early 2020.
Google responded to the ruling by rolling out a number of software changes and tweaks that circumvent the patent-infringing technology in question – a measure which the tech giant believes will not impact its ability to import and sell its products.
While Google intends to appeal the decision, the ban is slated to take effect in 60 days. The Biden administration could also choose to intervene.
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