Sonos sues Google for patent infringement, demands ban on speakers

Sonos vs Google

The companies have been interlinked for years, but Sonos is only challenging Google at the moment because it wants to tackle one of its former friends at a time.

Sonos dropped a bomb on Google while the latter was busy with all things CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Tuesday, with the audio company bringing two separate but related legal actions against the search giant over allegations that Google copied its speaker technology - and then used that edge to bring less expensive speakers to market and give Google a leg up in the smart speaker wars.

Sonos and Google are headed to the courts.

Sonos claimed that Google infringed five of its wireless technology patents.

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Sonos claims that in 2013, Google agreed to design its music service to work with Sonos speakers, leading to Sonos handing over the blueprints to the speakers, because at the time, Google was not in the physical hardware business. Sonos now says both firms exploited that dependency to gain access to Sonos' intellectual property. This news comes to us from a New York Times report, detailing the suit filed in two federal court systems: the Federal District Court in Los Angeles and the United States International Trade Commission (which can stop products from entering the country if they violate patents). Sonos also alleges that Amazon has similarly infringed upon its technology, with executives telling the Times that they made a decision to only sue Google as they "couldn't risk battling two tech giants in court at once".

Sonos is suing Google for stealing the wireless speaker technology the company pioneered with its high-end speakers.

Sonos is also accusing Google of subsidizing the prices of its patent infringing products, with products that cost as little as $35.

Google and Amazon both denied Sonos' claims to The New York Times. "We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously". "The Echo family of devices and our multi-room music technology were developed independently by Amazon", she said. It has not said how much it is seeking in damages. The article notes that in the third quarter of 2019, Amazon shipped 10.5 million speakers, Google shipped six million and Sonos shipped 6.1 million.

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