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Google Is Suing Sonos Over Smart Speakers in an Ongoing Battle


Google has been wrapped up in a patent war with Sonos for the past two years.

Google has been wrapped up in a patent war with Sonos for the past two years.
Photo: Alastair Grant (AP)

Google is firing back at Sonos Inc., filing two lawsuits against the audio products company that claim that its voice control technology infringes on a number of Google patents.

The lawsuits were filed in California federal court on Monday, claiming that Sonos infringed on seven Google patents related to its smart assistant technology. The two companies have been locked in a patent war for more than two years when Sonos first sued Google for allegedly stealing its smart speaker technology in January 2020. The recent escalation on Google’s part comes after Sonos’ recent victory in January of this year when the the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Google was in violation of five Sonos patents.

“Rather than compete on the basis of innovation and product quality, Sonos has decided to compete in the courtroom, and started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers,” José Castañeda, Google Spokesperson, told Gizmodo in an email. “Their actions leave us no choice but to defend our technology and challenge Sonos’s clear, continued infringement of our patents.”

In the lawsuit, Google claims that Sonos infringed patents related to “enabling voice assistant technology and providing improvements to the efficiency, reliability, and durability of voice-controlled and battery-powered devices,” according to Reuters.

Google and Sonos first partnered together to integrate Google Play into the Sonos platform, but things soon took a left turn when Sonos claimed that Google had copied its connected home speaker technology to create Google Home and other devices. January’s ruling found that Google had infringed on Sonos’ intellectual property, forcing Google to adjust the features of some of its products. But Google claims that Sonos needed Google’s company resources to integrate its voice assistant with its speakers, which included hours of work from Google employees.

It’s not clear how long these two former allies will continue to exchange allegations in the courtroom, but we wish we could command the Google Assistant to make it stop.



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