Google Infringed on Sonos Speaker Patents, Trade Commission Rules

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Feb 21, 2022

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In a final ruling, a US trade agency judged that Google violated audio technology patents owned by speaker manufacturer, Sonos.

Ruling Says Google Infringed on Patents

The United States International Trade Commission has ruled that Google infringed on five speaker patents owned by Sonos, maker of wireless speakers. This is the second ruling in Sonos’s favor, following one by a judge in August last year. 

In 2013, Google and Sonos entered into a partnership that saw the tech giant acquire the patents. The original partnership was to let Sonos speakers support Google Play Music. However, the audio company sued Google for using its patents in a line of products. During a two-year legal tussle, Sonos alleged that these products did better than its own.

Eddie Lazarus, Chief Legal Officer at Sonos, commended the trade commission’s ruling in a statement. “We appreciate that the ITC has definitely validated the five Sonos patents at issue in this case and ruled unequivocally that Google infringes all five.” 

Import Restriction

The US trade agency’s decision came with an import ban of some of Google’s products like its smart home devices. This means that Google cannot import products with the disputed speaker technology into the US. Usually, the products are made in China before the company imports them.

So far, it is unclear just how much this will affect the tech giant’s line of products. It is expected that Google will implement walkarounds to enable it to continue to import the products without pause.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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