Sonos Suing Google for Stealing Wireless Speaker Tech

Posted on January 7, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Amazon, Google, Hardware with 9 Comments

Sonos is suing Google for stealing the wireless speaker technology the company pioneered with its high-end speakers. The company today announced it’s suing Google for not only infringing up to 100 Sonos patents, but it’s also requesting a sales ban on Google speakers, as well other Google devices like laptops and phones.

Sonos claims that Google got access to its multi-room audio technology via a partnership back in 2013, which involved the companies working together to bring Google Play Music to the Sonos platform. Google apparently started infringing Sonos patents just 2 years later with the Chromecast Audio.

Sonos warned Google of infringing its patents multiple times, first in 2016 after the company launched the original Google Home speaker. The company warned Google multiple times after that, with the Home Max/Mini launch in 2018, and most recently in February 2019.

“Google is an important partner with whom we have collaborated successfully for years, including bringing the Google Assistant to the Sonos platform last year. However, Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology in creating its audio products. Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution.” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told The Verge. 

Sonos is also accusing Google of subsidizing the prices of its patent infringing products, with products that cost as little as $35. The company also claims Amazon is infringing Sonos patents with Echo speakers, but it’s only taking legal action against Google for now as it wants to avoid fighting against two tech giants at once.

The lawsuit comes at a time where large tech companies are under-pressure for anti-competitive tactics. And although Sonos relies on Google and Amazon for the smart assistants on its own speakers, the company’s lawsuit against Google seems to be a long time coming. Still, it’s unclear as to why exactly Sonos waited so long to take Google to the court.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Sonos Suing Google for Stealing Wireless Speaker Tech”

  1. toukale

    Sonos also accuses Amazon of the same. Apple was not name in this so, I am assuming it means Airplay 2 does not infringed on their patents? (Just guessing here).

  2. RonV42

    I guess Google's build first ask for forgiveness later isn't going to work this time.

  3. IanYates82

    I feel this may be more about dwindling marketshare and taking a leaf out of the old patent-wars from about a decade ago.

  4. red.radar

    Paints an interesting PR challenge for upstart partners... don’t work with google they will steal your IP.

    then again ... do you have a choice when you need access to a platform to be competitive in today’s market

  5. jimchamplin

    Move fast! Break things!

    ... Like the law!

    I'd gladly give up my smartphone AND the Common Desktop Environment - famous from 90s UNIX desktops - being opensourced if I could trade Google for DEC.

  6. m_p_w_84

    I don’t understand why Sonos hasn’t been bought by Apple amazon or google

  7. gowtham_jeyabalan

    Both amazon and google are competing against each other with the same tech they stole ?

  8. BBoileau

    The success of Google and Amazon devices is with the integrated AI and the addition of the microphone. As well the marketing of the product and production efficiencies created the entire market. Sonos may have developed the technology to integrate speakers, but they knew nothing about creating the environment that led to the growth the category went through with the two tech giants at the helm. The should be grateful as it has improved their potential and opened their market up.