Commercial court rules Google infringed Sonos patents

What just happened? A U.S. commercial court has ruled in favor of Sonos in its ongoing legal battle against Google for allegedly infringing its patents on speaker technology. Google has already responded with software updates to get around the IP claim, which many of its customers don’t take well.

In 60 days, Google will be banned from importing into the United States any product that falls under the International Trade Commission ruling that it has infringed Sonos’ patents. The judgment is subject to presidential review during these 60 days. According to the New York Times, this affect Google Home speakers, Pixel phones, Chromecasts, and some computers.

Sonos was in the smart speaker business before Google, but in 2013 the two companies partnered to make Sonos speakers compatible with Google Play Music. When Google then released Google Home, Pixel phones and the Chromecast, Sonos claimed that Google used the information obtained during their product partnership and sued the company in January 2020.

This week’s final ruling confirms an August 2020 preliminary verdict in favor of Sonos.

Soon after, Google revealed software updates to its smart speakers due to the ruling. Now, users will have to adjust the volume of each speaker individually and will no longer be able to use their phone’s physical volume button to do so. The comments section of this ad is full of angry customers, with some asking for refunds.

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