Google ordered to pay $32.5m in patent infringement case against Sonos


In a landmark decision, a court in the United States has ordered Google, the multinational technology company, to pay $32.5 million to Sonos, a high-tech audio technology company, for infringing on their patented smart speaker technology.

The verdict was delivered by a San Francisco jury and stems from a lawsuit filed by Sonos against Google.

According to The Verge, the court filing reveals that the jury found Google’s smart speakers and media players to have infringed on one of Sonos’ two patents. The jury determined that Google should compensate Sonos at a rate of $2.3 for each of the over 14 million devices sold.

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This ruling follows a series of legal battles between Sonos and Google. In January 2022, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) declared that Google had violated five patents held by Sonos, specifically relating to smart speakers. Subsequently, in August of the same year, a US judge ruled that Google had indeed infringed upon Sonos’ patents.

The initial lawsuit was filed in January 2020 when Sonos accused Google of copying its wireless speaker design. Sonos urged the ITC to impose a ban on various Google products, including laptops, phones, and speakers.

Google fined by San Francisco court, which rules in favor of Sonos, citing violation of smart speaker patent

Google fined by San Francisco court, which rules in favor of Sonos, citing violation of smart speaker patent. Photo courtesy of Grendelkhan/Wikimedia Commons.

During the trial, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence testified before the US House antitrust committee, alleging that Google had hindered the company from enabling both Amazon’s Alexa assistant and the Google Assistant to function simultaneously. Google, however, expressed confidence that the ruling would have no adverse effects on its ability to import or sell its products.

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The legal dispute between the two companies has been ongoing, with Sonos accusing Google of infringing on a total of 100 patents. In response, Google has consistently maintained that its technology was independently developed and not copied from Sonos. The tech giant even counter-sued Sonos, alleging infringement on its own smart speaker and voice control technology patents.

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With this recent court decision, Sonos secures a significant victory, solidifying its claim of patent infringement against Google. The $32.5 million payment ordered by the court reflects the jury’s determination of damages resulting from Google’s infringement of Sonos’ smart speaker patent.

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