Sonos wins $32.5 million patent infringement win against Google

Photo credit: Jako Janse van Rensburg

Google must pay Sonos $32.5 million for infringing on the company’s smart speaker patent, according to a jury ruling Friday.

Smart speaker company Sonos has won its ongoing legal battle against Google and has now ordered Google to pay the company $32.5 million infringes his patent. The feud began in 2020 when Sonos accused Google of copying its patented multi-room audio technology after the companies’ partnership in 2013.

Sonos won its case before the US International Trade Commission, resulting in a limited import ban on some of the Google devices in question. Additionally, Google had to remove some features from its lineup of smart speakers and displays.

In August, Google sued Sonos over allegations that the audio company violated Google’s smart speakers and voice control technology. The most recent trial began earlier this month.

“We are deeply grateful to the jury for their time and diligence in maintaining the validity of our patents and recognizing the value of Sonos’ invention of the zone scenes,” said Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’ chief legal officer and CFO. “This ruling reconfirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio, as the International Trade Commission has already ruled on five other Sonos patents.”

“In total, we believe Google is infringing on more than 200 Sonos patents, and today’s claim for damages, which relates to an important part of our portfolio, demonstrates the exceptional value of our intellectual property. Our goal remains that Google pays us a fair royalty for the Sonos inventions that it has appropriated,” Lazarus continues.

“This is a tight dispute over some very specific features that aren’t commonly used,” said Google spokesman Peter Schottenfels. “Of the six patents initially asserted by Sonos, only one was found to be infringing and the remainder were dismissed as invalid or not infringed. We have always developed technology independently and competed based on our ideas. We are considering our next steps.”

Despite Sonos’ victory in patent infringement, the jury ruled that Google’s Home app did not infringe a separate patent filed by Sonos. Judge William Alsup also asked the jury to “disregard a Sonos expert’s $90 million damages estimate and said he ruled that some of it…” evidence presented was inadmissible.”

The judge expressed his disappointment that this case ever went to trial and that both sides couldn’t come to an agreement, calling it “a symbol of the worst patent dispute.”