It's time for Google to pay: Sonos wins patent controversy

Its time for Google to pay Sonos wins patent controversy

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Thursday ruled against Google in its patent dispute with Sonos, finding that Google infringed five legitimate patents belonging to the smallest audio company. The Commission ordered a ban on the import of patented Google infringing products and concluded that Google must stop selling patented infringing products that have already been introduced.

The control could affect a wide range of products with special audio features, such as the Nest Hub, Nest Wi-Fi point and Pixel smartphones. Google has suggested that the ban does not affect the sale or import of its products. However, Sonos' lawyer described the case as a "widespread benefit" to Sonos and made it clear that the company expects Google to start paying revenge for using the patented technology. aca.

"Google may be able to reduce or eliminate product features in a way that circumvents the import ban imposed by the ITC," Sonos Chief Law Officer Eddie Lazarus said in a statement. "But while Google may provide user experience in an attempt to overcome this import ban, its results will infringe many dozens of Sonos' patents, the crime it has committed will continue, and the Sonos collects damage. On the other hand, Google can - as other companies have already done - pay a fair royalties for the technologies they have misused. "

Google said it does not expect the regulation to affect its ability to import or sell products, as the ITC has allowed modified product designs.

However, "we will call for further review and continue to defend ourselves against Sonos' derogatory claims against our partnership and intellectual property," Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement.

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While Google plans to appeal the decision, the ban is expected to take effect in 60 days. Biden administration may also choose to intervene.

In particular, the ITC decision alleges that Google violated the 1930 Tariff Act when it entered the U.S. and sold some audio players and regulators, in addition to their own parts.

Sonos first filed a lawsuit against Google in the federal court system in January 2022. The patents in question cover technology for setting up home audio systems, multi-speaker synchronization, size control or -dependent on different speakers, and a pair of stereo speakers.

Sonos was a pioneer in network audio, but its speakers have been overshadowed by Google Home and Amazon Echo in recent years. Google and Amazon were able to offer their smart speakers for a fraction of the cost of a Sonos speaker, flooding the market with devices as a way to bring customers into the ecosystems. their digital.

In addition to complaining to the ITC, Sonos filed a lawsuit against Google in federal district court, and CEO Patrick Spence testified against Google before a subcommittee against trust at the US House.

At the same time, Google opposed Sonos.

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