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US regulator rules Google infringed on Sonos headphone patents


The US International Trade Commission has agreed to Sonos’ allegations that Google infringed on its president and filed patents. It issued its initial ruling in August, thus ending its ruling, which prohibits Google from importing products found to infringe Sonos’ intellectual property rights. Since Google makes its products in China, this means that they will not be able to ship them to the US when the import ban takes effect within 60 days.

Sonos sued Google in 2020 over five patents, which include one detailing technology that allows wireless speakers to sync with each other. as New York times Notes, the affected products include smart speakers for the home, Pixel phones and computers, as well as Chromecast devices. While Google faces an import ban, a company spokesperson said the tech giant does not expect the ruling to interrupt its ability to import and sell devices.

“While we disagree with today’s decision, we appreciate that the International Trade Commission approved our revised designs,” the spokesperson said. protocol. “We will seek further review and will continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous allegations regarding our partnership and intellectual property.” The committee did not challenge those alternative designs in its final decision, which means Google could implement them.

In fact, the Nest team recently announced some changes to speaker groups, which it says are “due to a recent legal ruling.” The most notable change is that, from now on, users will not be able to adjust the volume of all speakers in a group at once. They will have to adjust each amplifier individually instead.

In a statement, Sonos’ chief legal officer, Eddie Lazarus, acknowledged that there is a possibility that “Google could weaken or remove product features in a way that circumvents the ITC import ban.” However, he said the tech giant’s products would still “infringe several Sonos patents” — that is, unless Google pays Sonos for its technologies.

In his statement in full:

“We appreciate that ITC has definitively validated the five Sonos patents involved in this case and issued a categorical ruling that Google infringed all five. This is an extremely rare overall win in patent cases and underscores the strength of Sonos’ extensive patent portfolio and the emptiness of Google’s denial These Sonos patents cover Sonos’ pioneering invention of extremely popular home audio features, including setup to control home audio systems, multiple speaker synchronization, independent volume control for different speakers, and stereo pairing for speakers.

There is a possibility that Google could weaken or remove product features in a way that circumvents the import ban imposed by ITC. But while Google may sacrifice consumer experience in an effort to circumvent this import ban, its products will still infringe dozens of Sonos patents, their infringements will continue, and the damages owed to Sonos will continue. Instead, Google – as other companies have already done – could pay a fair fee for the technologies it embezzled.”

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