The Sonos vs. Google Court Battle has Escalated with Google filing a Countersuit yesterday in a California Court
Back in January of this year Sonos sued Google for allegedly copying its patented smart speaker technology while undercutting it at market. At the time Sonos filed two lawsuits covering five patents. Sonos claimed that Google had stolen its multiroom speaker technology after getting access to it through a 2013 partnership. Sonos says it warned Google about the infringement several times, starting in 2016, a few months after Google announced its Home smart speaker. You could read more about that lawsuit here.
Yesterday Google countersued Sonos claiming that the company is infringing on five of their patents. In the filing, Google's lawsuit states that "Sonos has made false claims about the companies’ shared work and Google’s technology in the lawsuits that Sonos filed against Google earlier this year. While Google rarely sues other companies for patent infringement, it must assert its intellectual property rights here."
Below are two key segments of the lawsuit first presented by Google that provides us with a quick overview of the lawsuit.
Google's Partnership with Sonos
Google first introduces the Google - Sonos partnership as follows: "Google partners with other companies to bring Google’s innovations to millions of shared customers. In particular, Google has long had a continued partnership with Sonos. In these collaborations, Sonos has repeatedly asked Google for assistance, so that Sonos could employ Google technology to improve Sonos’ products.
In 2013, Sonos asked for Google’s assistance to integrate with Google’s popular Play Music service. Google gave Sonos that assistance, and provided significant engineering resources, technical support, and other resources to integrate Sonos’ products with Google’s Play Music service in 2014.
In 2016, Sonos again asked for Google’s assistance–this time to integrate with Google’s innovative Assistant software. And again, Google was willing to help. Google gave Sonos significant assistance in designing, implementing, and testing a solution that would bring Google’s voice recognition software to Sonos’ devices. This effort again involved substantial Google engineering resources, including significant months of employee work time, for the initial launch of Google’s Assistant on Sonos’ products in May 2019.
Google is proud of its more than five-year partnership with Sonos, and has worked constructively with Sonos to make the companies’ products work seamlessly by building special integrations for Sonos. For instance, when Google rolled out the ability to set a Sonos speaker as the default option for Google Assistant, it was the first time Google had done that for any partner company.
Sonos has made false claims about the companies’ shared work and Google’s technology in the lawsuits that Sonos filed against Google earlier this year. While Google rarely sues other companies for patent infringement, it must assert its intellectual property rights here."
Sonos' Infringement of Google's IP
Google gets to the bottom line in this segment by noting that "Sonos is using substantial volumes of Google’s technology, including patented Google innovations in search, software, networking, audio processing, and digital media management and streaming, both in Sonos’ hardware products and in Sonos’ software and service offerings, including the current-generation Sonos controller application (hereafter “S2 App”), prior-generation Sonos controller application (hereafter “S1 Controller App ”), and the Sonos Radio service.
Google has patents on innovative technologies that allow networked digital audio devices to create robust wireless communications networks, access and play copy-protected media, adaptively control echo and ambient noise, and search multiple music libraries simultaneously. Sonos is using, without permission, these Google technologies in Sonos’ products to enable multiple commercially-desirable features, for example, to allow for easier configuration of and extensions to multi-speaker networks; to facilitate the management and use of multiple music services with Sonos speakers; to permit playing copy-protected digital media, including Sonos’ new Sonos Radio service; and to allow Sonos to use noise suppression and echo cancellation to obtain accurate audio input. Sonos uses these technologies to offer a number of products and services, including, inter alia, the Sonos One, One SL, Five, Play:1, Play:3, Play:5, Playbar, Playbase, Beam, Arc, Move, Connect:Amp, Amp, Connect, Sub, and the Sonos S1 Controller App and S2 App (collectively, the “Accused Products”).
Sonos is actively infringing Google’s intellectual property. Sonos has no license to use Google’s patents. Because Sonos refuses to cease its infringement, and is unwilling to recognize the value of Google’s technology through a license, Google has filed this suit to protect its intellectual property."
Google brings this action against Sonos for infringing the following five patents:
- #7,899,187 titled "Domain-based digital-rights management system with easy and secure device enrollment,"
- #8,583,489 titled "Generating a media content availability notification."
- #10,140,375 titled "Personalized network searching."
- #7,065,206 titled "Method and apparatus for adaptive echo and noise control."
- #10,229,586 titled "Relaying communications in a wireless sensor system."
For more details, read Google's full complaint filed with the court in the SCRIBD document below, courtesy of Patently Apple.