Categories: Technology

Sonos files lawsuit over Google for allegedly breaching audio patents


The smart speaker producer Sonos has reportedly filed another lawsuit against the famous search giant, Google.

After filing its previous lawsuit against Google in January, Sonos has again filed a lawsuit against Google. As reported by The Verge, the case is accusing Google of breaching of five wireless audio licenses across the entire Nest and Chromecast products line.

The previous lawsuit

In January, Sonos sued Google for gross breaching in the California federal court with the International Trade Commission. The allegations stated that Google used the technology developed by Sonos that allows smart speakers to play music in different rooms wirelessly.

A Sonos executive told CNBC about how vital their partnership with google is over these years. Moreover, to illustrate this, they stated bringing of Google Assistant to the Sonos platform.

Google-Sonos partnership

The California based wireless home audio products manufacturers Sonos was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, and Trung Mai. Patrick Spence currently runs the company.

Sonos has collaborated with over 100 companies that offer music services. That includes  Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and also Amazon Music.

Moreover, Sonos products work with the three major voice assistants: Amazon Alexa Google Assistant, and Apple Siri, although the latter is currently only supported through Apple’s Home app.

Google introduces the partnership stating its aim to bring Google’s innovations to shared customers. Google and Sonos have a continued partnership. They have been benefiting each other for over five years.

In 2013, Sonos asked for Google’s support to integrate with Google’s Play Music service. Hence, Google gave Sonos the assistance they needed, including significant engineering resources, technical support, and other resources to integrate Sonos’ products with  Google’s Play Music service in 2014.

Later, in 2016, Sonos requested for Google’s assistance. However, this time to integrate with Google’s innovative Assistant software. And again, Google was willing to help.

Google gave Sonos a considerable amount of technical assistance in designing, resolving, and testing a solution. This effort involved significant Google engineering resources, including substantial months of employee work time.

As a result, we finally saw the initial launch of Google’s Assistant on Sonos products in May 2019.

Lawsuit 2.0

The new case, nonetheless, is filed in the federal court for the Western District of Texas. Texas has recently been emerging as a center for the patent suit.

Sonos’ chief legal officer, Eddie Lazarus, says, “We think it’s important to show the depth and breadth of Google’s copying.”  Furthermore, he tells how Sonos ‘showed’ Google claim charts of 100 patents they claim are being breached. That, too, without any account or advantage.

Google, on the other hand, has ultimately denied the claims made by Sonos. Google’s spokesperson Jose Castaneda says that Sonos has made “misleading” claims about their history of working together.

In addition to that, Castaneda says that Google’s technology and devices are designed independently. And they deny Sonos’ claims ‘vigorously.’

He also says that Google will be fighting the case back. They have even countersued Sonos.

Google has a license on innovative technologies that allow networked digital audio devices to create robust wireless communications networks, access and plays copy-protected media, adaptively control echo and ambient noise, and search multiple music libraries simultaneously. Sonos, reportedly, is using it without permission.

For further details about Google’s lawsuit against Sonos, please refer to the SCRIBD document posted by Jack Purcher, by courtesy of Patently Apple.

Upcoming offer

Sonos’ ‘exclusive offer’ is coming on October 1st. The promo video includes Disney+ Hotstar, which gives us all a pinch of excitement. The short video also features a Star Wars series, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, which just further adds up to the excitement.

In the meantime, while the lawsuits are on-going, let us not forget to enjoy the service provided by both companies.

Image courtesy of Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

Ritick Raj

Published by
Ritick Raj

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