Sonos Wins Google Import Ban Ruling In U.S. Patent Fight

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A U.S. trade court barred Google late Thursday from importing products that infringe home-audio company Sonos’ smart-speaker patents.

The U.S. International Trade Commission affirmed an August decision that Google audio products infringed five Sonos patents. It banned Google from importing “networked speaker devices” and devices that can control them like mobile phones and laptops.

According to the ruling, Google won’t be barred from importing products that it had redesigned to avoid infringing the patents. A Google spokesperson said it doesn’t expect the decision to affect to its ability to import or sell its products.

Sonos’ Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus called the ruling an “across-the-board” win.

He said Google’s products still infringe the patents despite its attempts to design around them.

Sonos’ stock was up 1.5% in late morning trading on Friday, having earlier risen more than 3%.

The parties have been embroiled in a global patent war over multi-room audio technology since 2020 that includes court cases in California, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, according to a Sonos regulatory filing.
Sonos first sued Google in Los Angeles, alleging the company misused its technology in “more than a dozen different infringing products”, including Google Home speakers and Pixel phones, tablets, and laptops.

Google responded with its own lawsuit in San Francisco, alleging Sonos used “substantial volumes” of its technology without permission for several products, including controller apps and its Sonos Radio service.

At the ITC, Sonos had been trying to block Google from importing Home speakers, Pixel phones and other products from China.
– Reuters

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