Google infringed Sonos tech patents: US Trade panel

New York: The US International Trade Commission has ruled that Google has infringed upon five audio technology patents covering the setup, control, and synchronization of multi-room network speaker systems held by another American company Sonos.

Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus in a statement said, “We appreciate that the ITC has definitively validated the five Sonos patents at issue in this case and ruled unequivocally that Google infringes all five.

“That is an across the board win that is surpassingly rare in patent cases and underscores the strength of Sonos’s extensive patent portfolio and the hollowness of Google’s denials of copying.”

“These Sonos patents cover Sonos’ groundbreaking invention of extremely popular home audio features, including the set up for controlling home audio systems, the synchronization of multiple speakers, the independent volume control of different speakers, and the stereo pairing of speakers.”

Sonos in its lawsuit filed in January 2020 had claimed Google stole the technology after working with Sonos to integrate Google Play Music.

The company had asked for an import ban on the relevant Google products that include Google Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, and the Chromecast streaming video device.

“It is a possibility that Google will be able to degrade or eliminate product features in a way that circumvents the importation ban that the ITC has imposed. But while Google may sacrifice consumer experience in an attempt to circumvent this importation ban, its products will still infringe many dozens of Sonos patents, its wrongdoing will persist, and the damages owed Sonos will continue to accrue.

“Alternatively, Google can —as other companies have already done —pay a fair royalty for the technologies it has misappropriated,” Lazarus added.

According to Google spokesman Jose Castaneda, the company disagrees with the ruling but it will work to ensure that there was no disruption in the products used by customers or its ability to sell or import devices.

Google will seek further review and continue to defend itself.

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