Sonos and Google head to federal trial over smart-speaker patent dispute

Sonos and Google are going to a federal trial over alleged patent infringement of Sonos’ smart-speaker technology. Sonos is seeking $90 million in damages from Google in the ongoing intellectual property dispute between the two companies.

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Sonos and Google are part of a San Francisco federal trial over allegations that Google copied Sonos’ patented smart-speaker technology in wireless audio devices like Google Home and Chromecast Audio. The case is part of an ongoing intellectual property dispute between the two companies that also involves other lawsuits in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Sonos is asking for $90 million in damages from Google, down from an original request of $3 billion after US District Judge William Alsup narrowed the case. Sonos alleges Google infringed on two of its patents related to multi-room wireless audio. Google has countered that the case relates to ‘some very specific features that are not commonly used,’ and that Sonos ‘mischaracterised our partnership and technology.’

The companies previously worked together to integrate Google’s streaming music service into Sonos products. Sonos first sued Google for patent infringement in Los Angeles and at the US International Trade Commission in 2020, alleging that the tech giant had copied its technology during their collaboration. Sonos won a limited import ban on some Google devices from the ITC last year, which Google has appealed. Google has also filed its own patent lawsuits against Sonos in California and at the ITC. Judge Alsup has criticised both companies’ attacks on each other’s expert testimony and has called their legal bills ‘enormous’ and ’emblematic of the worst of patent litigation.’