The connected speakers and the Sonos voice assistant strongly disturb Google. After a first lawsuit won by Sonos, the American giant decided to renew its allegations because of patent infringement. Understand by this that Google accuses Sonos of having taken great inspiration from its technologies to develop its own. Or even copy them.
For its second lawsuit, Google added seven new patents, still relating to its speakers and its voice assistant. Specifically, the copies would come from the detection of keywords for the voice assistant and wireless charging. A Google spokesperson thought it wanted “defend our technology and challenge the clear and continued infringement of our patents by Sonos”. He added the term “joint customers” to highlight the conflict of interest.
The market does not have that many players and Google would rather put all its energy into competing with Amazon, which stands up to it in a more worrying way. Moreover, the e-commerce giant has just acquired iRobot, a very serious American player in home automation thanks to its Roomba range (robot vacuum cleaner).
Two years of passing the buck
Google’s allegations lead to demands for very strict penalties. If they were to win the lawsuit, then the Sonos products concerned would simply be prohibited from marketing. At least, in Google’s ideal.
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The legal battle between the two companies has begun in 2020. Initially, it was Sonos that made the decision to sue Google. The facts mentioned were part of a collaboration that occurred earlier, in which Sonos had agreed to a partnership for Google to integrate some of its features into Sonos speakers. In the allegations, it was said that Google took advantage of this to develop its products such as Google Home. The court verdict was in favor of Sonos, concluding that Google had indeed copied Sonos patents…
As reminded The Vergecustomers of Google devices had temporarily suffered consequences to this dispute. For example, a feature to adjust the sound remotely was no longer available. It was one of the features deemed copied from the Sonos program.
In an interview with the American media, the CEO of Sonos, explained last February that they represented 2 billion dollars of the market, estimated at $89 billion this year. “There is a lot of room for us to seize more opportunities. We do it in a unique way”. Sonos hires 1719 people to provide the means.