Jun 11, 2020 - Technology

Google countersues Sonos in patent dispute

A lifestyle shot with various Sonos speakers
Photo: Sonos

Google fired back on Thursday with claims of patent infringement after Sonos sued the tech giant earlier this year over speaker patents.

Why it matters: Sonos is in a tough spot as it tries to add smart speaker capabilities while also competing with devices from Amazon and Google, the companies that control the two main popular virtual assistants.

Details:

  • In its countersuit, Google alleges Sonos is infringing on five patents, saying the company is using patented Google technology in a range of areas, from search and notifications to mesh networking and echo cancellation.
  • Sonos had accused Google in January of infringing on five of its patents, mostly related to setting up multiroom networked speakers.

Between the lines: Google and Sonos had worked together to add Google Assistant into Sonos' speakers, while at the same time Google has released its own low-cost smart speakers, setting the stage for a partnership that was tense at best.

What they're saying:

  • Google notes that it rarely files patent cases and hasn't countersued in a case since 2013.
"We are disappointed that Sonos has made false claims about our work together and technology. We are reluctantly defending ourselves by asserting our patent rights. While we look to resolve our dispute, we will continue to ensure our shared customers have the best experience using our products."
— Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda, in a statement to Axios
  • Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said that Google's infringement of Sonos' technology is part of a pattern of the search giant "copying the innovations of smaller American companies."
"Instead of simply addressing the merits of our case, and paying us what we're owed, Google has chosen to use their size and breadth to try and find areas in which they can retaliate. We look forward to winning our original case, and this newly filed case as well."
— Patrick Spence, in a statement to Axios
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