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Google sues Sonos over smart speaker and voice control technology

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Google is hitting back at Sonos with a few lawsuits alleging that the wireless speaker company is infringing on some of its patents surrounding smart speakers and voice control technology. It’s the latest salvo in a back-and-forth battle over wireless speakers that has so far sparked multiple Sonos lawsuits, a lawsuit from Google, and a ruling in Sonos’ favor that resulted in features from Google’s products have been removed.

These new lawsuits allege infringement of seven additional patents. One lawsuit focuses on hotword detection and wireless charging, and the other revolves around how a group of speakers determines which one should respond to voice input.

Google spokesman José Castañeda said the lawsuits are being filed to “defend our technology and challenge Sonos’ clear, ongoing infringement of our patents.” Castañeda said Sonos had “started an aggressive and deceptive campaign against our products at the expense of our shared customers.”

Both lawsuits will be filed this morning in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Google plans to file similar lawsuits with the US International Trade Commission in the coming days, which will seek to ban imports of infringing Sonos products, Castañeda said. The edge.

The legal skirmish began in 2020 when Sonos initially sued Google over multi-room speaker technology. The two companies had worked together years earlier to make Google services work on Sonos speakers, and Sonos claimed that Google was going to steal its speaker technology to build the Google Home and other devices. Google protested months later, claiming that Sonos also infringed some of its patents. Then Sonos sued again. Finally, in January, two years after the first lawsuit was filed, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in Sonos’ favor, ruling that Google was infringing Sonos’ patents.

In response, Google has had to adjust features of some of its products. That meant Google removed the ability to adjust the volume of a group of speakers at once – a pretty annoying change for owners of multiple Google speakers. Today’s lawsuits appear to be an attempt by Google to influence Sonos as the two spar over features.

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