Google hits Sonos with new lawsuit in tech patent dispute

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Already embroiled in a two-year patent dispute with Sonos over wireless speaker technology, Google now claims Sonos is using its wireless charging and voice control innovations without permission.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Google has escalated its two-year legal row with Sonos over smart speaker technology, saying its competitor and former partner made false claims about their “work sharing” in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court.

Google, which has been accused of copying Sonos’ design for wireless speakers, claims in a new lawsuit that Sonos is using Google’s speaker innovations without permission and infringing on its wireless charging patents. wire and voice command functions like hot word detection.

The tech giant says it partnered with Sonos in 2013 to help its home speaker system work with Google Play Music, and in 2016 Sonos again asked Google for help integrating its speakers. to Google’s voice assistant.

Two years ago, Sonos sued Google in federal court in Los Angeles for using the partnership to gain insight into its technology and using it to launch its own smart speaker, Chromecast Audio, and then Google Home.

Now Google says Sonos took advantage of Google’s largesse to help Sonos improve its products and used Google’s technology without permission to introduce wireless charging and voice control features for a number of portable speaker products. such as Sonos Move, Sonos Roam, Sonos Roam SL, Sonos Arc, Sonos Beam and Sonos One.

“While Google rarely sue other companies for patent infringement, it must enforce its intellectual property rights here,” Google says in its complaint.

But this is not the first time that Google has asserted its intellectual property rights against its rival. When Sonos filed a lawsuit in 2020, Google immediately retaliated with a countersuit claiming Sonos infringed on a number of its patents, including methods for storing domain information, accessing streaming digital content and search for musical content. “Sonos uses, without permission, these Google technologies in Sonos products to enable several commercially desirable features, for example, to enable easier configuration and expansion of multi-speaker networks; to facilitate management and use to several
music services with Sonos speakers; to enable playback of copy-protected digital media, including the new Sonos Radio service from Sonos; and to allow Sonos to use noise suppression and echo cancellation to achieve accurate audio input, that lawsuit alleged.

Google also filed a counterclaim against Sonos for patent invalidity in 2021 and won a favorable ruling on that front from U.S. District Judge William Alsup last week regarding a claim related to Sonos’ patent for the transfer of Playback. a playlist of songs from a smartphone to a speaker.

Tech news website The Verge reported that the United States International Trade Commission ruled in January 2022 that Google violated five of Sonos’ smart speaker patents, causing Google to remove certain features from its products.

Google is seeking treble damages and injunctive relief in Monday’s action.

Both companies’ press teams and Google’s attorneys with Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan did not return an email seeking comment on Monday.

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