Google violated Sonos audio patents, commercial court rules

Image from Nest Audio and a first-generation Google Home smart speaker

It has been discovered that Google’s smart speakers, as well as some of its other devices, infringe existing Sonos patents.
Photo: Gizmodo / Andrew Leszewski

Google’s smart speakers and Android devices are a major part of its vision for Connected The ecosystem, which may be in jeopardy after today’s commercial court ruling.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Google infringed on audio patents owned by Sonos. (You can view the PDF of the verdict here.) And the ruling means that Google is no longer allowed to import products that infringe Sonos’ intellectual property rights — its tools are manufactured overseas — and the commission has served the company with a moratorium. The referee heads to President Biden’s office, and Then Biden He has 60 days to veto the application.

The commission spent two years investigating whether Google had violated the Tariff Act of 1930, a law designed to prevent unfair competition from imported products that infringe US patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The committee has been in deliberations since last AugustAnd After the judge initially ruled that Google had infringed the patents.

Sonos has asked the International Trade Center to ban the import of Google products that infringe on its patents, including Google Home smart speakers, Pixel smartphones, Chromecast devices. a google speakerMa Tell Bloomberg that was redesigned Its products after the initial ruling last August To avoid infringement of Sonos patents so that there is no interruption in sales.

“Although we do not agree with today’s decision, we guarantee our subscribed customers that they will have the best experience using our products and that they will not experience any interruption,” A spokesman for Jose Castaneda said. “We will seek further review and will continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous allegations regarding our partnership and intellectual property.”

Sonos initially filed her complaint again January 2020 After warning Google as reported On multiple occasions about the alleged violations. Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, claimed at the time that Google “blatantly and knowingly” copied its patented audio technology. The patents in question appear to be related to Google’s exchange infrastructure, such as how it handles multi-room operation between network devices.

Sonos It has previously said it wants Google to license its technology, and the two companies have reportedly discussed such an arrangement. Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus’ destiny Google has infringed more than 150 company patents.

Google still has a chance to appeal the ruling after the presidential review period, so it’s unclear whether the company will soon have to. Start selling different versions of its devices.

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