Google/Sonos Case is Heading to Trial

In a mixed verdict, a federal judge ruled that Google will be tried for infringing on Sonos smart speaker patents. But the judge also invalidated one of the Sonos patents, narrowing the case.

“Google’s motion for summary judgment is granted in part, denied in part, and deferred in part,” the ruling from U.S. District Judge William Alsup reads. “The issues now set for trial are Sonos’s claim for infringement (direct, willful, and indirect) of [one patent], Google’s counterclaim for noninfringement of the asserted claims of the [same] patent, Google’s counterclaims for invalidity of the asserted claims of the [a second patent] and [the first] patents, damages for infringement of the asserted claim of the second patent, and any and all remaining issues in the entire case, except the undersigned will consider Google’s purported design-around in a bench trial after the rest of the issues are tried before the jury.”

The two patents in question—referred to above as the first and second patents—are U.S. patents # 10,469,966 and #10,848,885, respectively. (Two other Sonos patents that were originally part of the case have been invalidated.) Both are core to the Sonos business as they both relate to the creation of smart speaker groups via software, and Google failed in its attempts to invalidate both. As to the question of whether Google willfully infringed on those patents, Judge Alsup ruled that it was “moot” since Google will be held liable for that infringement regardless if it’s found guilty at trial.

The Google/Sonos case heads to trial in San Francisco on May 8.

“We look forward to once again demonstrating Google’s widespread infringement” at trial, a Sonos statement notes.

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