Google Countersues Sonos

Posted on June 11, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google, Google Play Music, Smart Home, Sonos with 3 Comments

Google has countersued Sonos, alleging that the smart speaker maker made false claims against it and stole its intellectual property.

“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,” the Google counter-suit claims. “Sonos is using, without permission, Google [patented] technologies in Sonos’ products 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.”

As you may recall, Sonos sued Google in January, claiming that the search giant is infringing on up to 100 Sonos patents in its smart speaker products. Google’s counter-suit is designed to blunt Sonos’ claims while introducing new claims of its own against Sonos.

Somewhat humorously, Google also alleges that it has “suffered competitive harm, irreparable injury, and damages” because of the tiny speaker maker’s infractions.

The Sonos story is, sorry Google, a bit more believable: After working with Google to integrate Google Play Music into Sonos, the speaker firm balked at Google’s demands that users not be able to access both Google Assistant, the search giant’s digital personal assistant, and Amazon Alexa, the market leader. Google then introduced its own smart speakers using Sonos’ technology and underpriced them to push out Sonos and other competitors.

“Google has not merely copied Sonos’s patented technology, it has also subsidized the prices of its patent-infringing products, including at the entry level, and flooded the market,” the Sonos suit explained.

“We are disappointed that Sonos has made false claims about our work together and technology,” a Google statement reads. “We are reluctantly defending ourselves by asserting our patent rights. While we look to resolve our dispute, we will continue to ensure our shared customers have the best experience using our products.”

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