ITC judge sides with Sonos over Google in preliminary patent ruling

Brittany A. Roston - Aug 13, 2021, 4:39pm CDT
ITC judge sides with Sonos over Google in preliminary patent ruling

More than a year ago, speaker company Sonos filed a lawsuit against Google, seeking to have certain Google products blocked from import into the US over alleged patent infringement. Fast-forward several months and a preliminary finding on the matter has been revealed: the ITC has sided with Sonos, but this is only an initial decision.

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Sonos’ battle with Google has proven a long one and there are, at minimal, several more months of waiting. The initial January 2020 lawsuit was followed up in September 2020 with another lawsuit from Sonos against Google, that one over the alleged infringement of five wireless audio patents.

As expected, Google slapped back with a countersuit against Sonos after it filed the initial lawsuit. A Google spokesperson had said at the time that the company designed its technologies and devices independently and that it didn’t infringe on Sonos’ patents.

In an update on the matter today, Sonos announced that the US ITC had ruled in its favor, finding that Google has infringed upon all five of the named patents. Of note, this is an initial decision by the ITC in what is expected to be a long court battle.

Many details are lacking; it’s unclear at the moment what prompted the judge to find that Google had infringed the patents. Likewise, this initial decision is just the start. The full commission will need to issue a final ruling on the matter, something currently scheduled for December.

In a statement on the preliminary ruling, Sonos Chief Legal officer Eddie Lazarus said:

Today the ALJ has found all five of Sonos’ asserted patents to be valid and that Google infringes on all five patents. We are pleased the ITC has confirmed Google’s blatant infringement of Sonos’ patented inventions. This decision re-affirms the strength and breadth of our portfolio, marking a promising milestone in our long-term pursuit to defend our innovation against misappropriation by Big Tech monopolies.

The judge’s full ruling is expected to be available in coming days.


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