Google Infringed on Sonos Patents, Judge Claims

OAKLAND, Calif. — Google infringed on speaker-technological innovation patents held by Sonos and should really not be permitted to import items that violate Sonos’s intellectual house, a decide claimed in a preliminary finding by the United States Intercontinental Trade Fee that was launched on Friday.

In January 2020, Sonos sued Google in federal court and in entrance of the United States International Trade Fee, a quasi-judicial physique that decides trade cases and can block the import of items that violate patents. Google later on submitted a countersuit in opposition to Sonos, boasting that Sonos was infringing on its patents.

Sonos had asked the fee to block imports of Google Dwelling good speakers, the company’s Chromecast methods and its Pixel phones and personal computers. People items are designed in China and shipped to the United States.

The brief ruling did not describe why the judge, Charles E. Bullock, thought Google experienced violated the Tariff Act of 1930, which aims to reduce unfair competitiveness by actions these kinds of as the import of solutions that infringe on U.S. patents, logos or copyrights.

The judge’s ruling is not the previous phrase. The whole commission has to take into account no matter if to take or reverse his final decision for a closing ruling, which is scheduled to get position on Dec. 13. If an import ban is imposed, it wouldn’t choose impact for 60 times — perfectly following the vacation purchasing time.

José Castañeda, a spokesman for Google, reported the firm does not use Sonos’s technologies. “We disagree with this preliminary ruling and will continue on to make our circumstance in the impending assessment method,” he explained.

On Wednesday, Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’s chief legal officer, called Google a “serial infringer” of Sonos patents. On a convention phone with analysts, he believed that Google experienced infringed on extra than 150 patents owned by Sonos, despite the fact that it lifted concerns only with 5 patents to the commission. The scenario in front of the fee is just “the suggestion of the iceberg,” he said.

On Friday, Mr. Lazarus claimed in a assertion, “This selection reaffirms the power and breadth of our portfolio, marking a promising milestone in our very long-term pursuit to protect our innovation towards misappropriation by Massive Tech monopolies.”

Sonos has stated that Amazon is also violating its patents — a charge that Amazon denies. Sonos executives have reported it pursued legal motion versus only Google because it did not know if it could sue two tech giants at the exact same time.

Sonos pioneered the current market for household speakers that can be managed by a smartphone and can synchronize new music wirelessly concerning different speakers throughout the house. In recent yrs, Google, Amazon and Apple have pushed into the current market for voice-controlled speakers. Sonos also delivers speakers that use the Google Assistant program or Amazon’s similar Echo engineering to management the unit.

Sonos and Google are also locked in authorized disputes above patents in California and Texas as well as France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Sonos’s share cost rose 6 % in following-hrs trading on Friday.