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Sonos V. Google: Patent Wars

Sonos V. Google: Patent Wars


Sonos and Google have finally ended their long patent infringement disputes. The primary contention here is that Google was accused of infringing Sonos’ patents covering their sound technology and smart speakers.

Sonos, initially known as Rincon Audio, is an American company based in Santa Barbara, California. It was formed in 2002. It is engaged in the business of manufacturing audio products. Google Inc. is a well-known American software company focusing on technology and developments in allied sectors.

Sonos is the owner of US patent numbers 10,848,885 and 10,469,966. These patents cover those sound technologies that Google is accused of infringing.

In 2013, Sonos and Google collaborated to integrate Google’s music streaming service Mountain View into Sonos’ audio products. It was not until 2020 that Sonos had accused Google of infringing their sound technology in their products Google Home and Chromecast Audio. The plaintiff had initially sued Google in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission. However, in the same proceedings, Google had fought back Sonos with their own claims accusing Sonos of infringing Google’s own technology by incorporating them into their sound products. This was held to be false and an intimidation tactic to subdue Sonos by the Commission.

In 2022, the U.S. International Trade Commission had also imposed a ban on imports on Google which would prevent them from importing those products which were infringing Sonos’ patents.

During the continuation of trial in 2023, Sonos asserted that this form of infringement by Google had caused Sonos to lose one-fifth of their market valuation in 2023.  It was held in Court that Google was indeed guilty of infringing Sonos’ patent and was asked to pay $32.5 million in damages to the plaintiff. Sonos later affirmed that Google had been a habitual infringer of their patents.

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