Sonos sues Google for copying smart speakers technology

Sonos believes Amazon and Google have infringed roughly 100 patents.

Sonos has sued Google for alleged patent infringements associated with its smart speakers on Tuesday. Sonos, an American company, famous for its next-generation wireless smart-speakers, believe Google has stolen its technology and copied in its own hardware. 

The smart speakers’ maker Sonos believes that Google has copied its technology that allows speakers to communicate with each other. The technology enables speakers placed in different rooms to stream music and synchronize. A total of five patents violations lawsuit is filed in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. 

Sonos also put the case in front of the United States International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that has authority over trade cases and may block the import of Google smart speaker devices that violate patents, reported by NYT. Besides the speakers, Sonos has filed for the block on smartphones and laptops as well by Google.

It began back in 2013 when Sonos shared its technology blueprints with Google to make the tech giant’s then released music service work efficiently with Sonos’s home speakers. Sonos keep on working with Google helping its digital assistant integration in its speakers.

However, Sonos executives quote that what they believed Google is an internet company. But Google slowly started to create hardware like their products, using the tech they shared. 


Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said that “Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology. Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution. We’re left with no choice but to litigate.”

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. Image: CNBC

Google’s response to Sonos lawsuit

A Google spokesman Jose Castaneda believes the technology sharing process was two-way in which both companies mutually benefited from each other.

Talking to New York Times, Castaneda said, “Google and Sonos had discussed both companies’ intellectual property for years, and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith. We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously.” 

Google is an important partner of Sonos with whom it has collaborated for years. Last year Sonos introduced Google Assistant in its smart speakers. However, Google launched its line of smart speakers named as Google Home in late 2016 that quickly began outselling Sonos smart speakers.

Sonos believe Google is trying to beat them further in the market by using money from other services and products to subsidize their Google Home smart speakers. Google’s cheapest smart speaker Google Home Mini costs as low as just $35.

Google Home Mini. Image: Getty

Sonos accuses Amazon

Sonos believes not only Google, but Amazon has also copied it for Amazon Echo smart speakers. An executive has added that the tech giants have used their leverage to squeeze the smaller company. 

Sonos states that both Google and Amazon are currently violating “roughly 100” of its patents. However, due to financial constraints, they can only afford to sue one of them.

Amazon spokeswoman for Natalie Hereth has said that the company did not use any of Sonos’s technology. She replied, “The Echo family of devices and our multiroom music technology were developed independently by Amazon.”

A general stance of Sonos for the lawsuit is that bigger companies are mistreating smaller companies by using their influence and power and eventually leaving no option to sell their business or bend down.

Last month a professor from NYU sued tech titan Apple for using his heart technology in its Watch.

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