The battle between Google and Sonos continues. On this occasion, the Mountain View company filed a couple of lawsuits, alleging that the speaker company infringes several of its patents regarding smart speakers and voice controls.
Google initiated this case around seven patents, among which technology capable of detecting keywords stands out, the way in which a group of speakers determines which one should respond when a command is requested, as well as aspects related to wireless charging.
The legal appeals were filed before the Northern District Court of California and it is not the only movement expected from Google, since the company is also planning to file similar appeals before the United States International Trade Commission, with the aim to prohibit imports of any infringing product.
According to statements by Google spokesman to The Verge , José Castañeda, the lawsuit is intended to “defend our technology and challenge the clear and continued infringement of our patents by Sonos.” Speakers alleged to have violated the patents include the Sonos One, Arc, Beam, Move and Roam.
Google also noted that Sonos decided to compete in court and launched a campaign against its products despite the fact that both companies often share customers. “We prefer innovation to litigation, but their actions leave us with no choice but to defend our technology and challenge the clear and continued infringement of our patents,” Castañeda said.
The dispute between Google and Sonos
The legal confrontation between these two companies is not new. It started in 2020, when Sonos sued Google for allegedly stealing its technology to make multiple speakers work in multiple locations with the same command.
Although the two companies had previously partnered to get Google services to work on Sonos speakers, the case escalated until Google defended itself by saying its patents had also been violated.
However, in January of this year, the US International Trade Commission found that Google violated five Sonos patents involving techniques for synchronizing audio playback, a way of pairing speakers to create stereo sounds, adjusting the volume of the speaker individually or in groups at the same time, as well as how to connect the system to a home Wi-Fi network.
Following the decision, Google had to remove some capabilities from its speakers, such as adjusting the volume of a group of speakers at the same time, something that annoyed users of its smart speakers.
“Google may sacrifice the consumer experience in an attempt to circumvent this import ban, its products will continue to infringe many dozens of Sonos patents, its wrongdoing will persist, and the damages owed to Sonos will continue to accumulate,” the Google-based company said in January. Santa Barbara, Calif.
At that time, Castañeda stated that they did not expect impacts on their ability to import or sell their products after the Commission’s determination; however, now Google does seek to harm Sonos imports.