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Photo: Sonos

Speaker maker Sonos on Tuesday sued Google for patent infringement and asked a trade court to bar importation of some Google products that are manufactured overseas.

Why it matters: Sonos has been trying to add smarts to its speakers while touting their audio quality to deal with a flood of competition from tech players offering inexpensive smart speakers. It had previously worked with Google to bring that company's voice assistant to its speakers.

Driving the news: Sonos filed suit in federal court and also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the power to bar the importation of products found to infringe patents.

Our thought bubble: In its suit, Sonos says that Google has not only been infringing patents but also flooding the market with less expensive products.

  • That latter claim seems true on its face, though likely not unlawful, and is the heart of the challenge Sonos faces.
  • There are a ton of Amazon and Google smart speakers on the market, and those companies can make money by selling advertising and services, where as Sonos is trying to profit by selling hardware.

What they're saying:

  • Sonos CEO Patrick Spence: "Google is an important partner with whom we have collaborated successfully for years, including bringing the Google Assistant to the Sonos platform last year. However, Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology in creating its audio products."
  • Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda: "Over the years, we have had numerous ongoing conversations with Sonos about both companies' IP rights 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."

The bottom line: Google is facing broad investigations by federal and state authorities into potentially monopolistic behavior, and each new challenge from smaller competitors could fuel the antitrust bandwagon.

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  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.