Google infringes Sonos patent: $32.5 million fine
Sonos is right. It has been arguing with Google for years about whether or not it infringes patents and now the court has ruled that Google indeed infringes Sonos’ patents. The end result? Google must pay $32.5 million.
Sonos vs. Google
The patent is a bit less pronounced than you might think, although there are actually few products that have many similarities in appearance. Google would have broken the patent around the positioning of speakers. Not exactly where they are, but how they are grouped and how they sync. It is an argument that has already started in 2020, because Sonos noticed that Google’s solution for multiroom audio was very similar to Sonos’s.
With multi-room audio, you can have different speakers in different rooms play the same music, so that you hear the same music throughout your house. It’s something Sonos has become famous for and Google got a handle on when the two brands worked together. But it’s not just Sonos competing with Google. Google has sued Sonos for infringing a voice control patent.
The jury, because the lawsuit took place in the United States, has determined that Chromecast Audio and the Google Home (yes, not even the newer Nest Home, but the Google Home already) infringe Sonos’ patent. A spicy consideration, because Google has to pay $ 2.30 for every product that is sold. Because Google violated 1 of the 6 patents Sonos sued it for, according to that jury, it should pay. $2.30 times $14 million (because that’s how many devices are sold) is a hefty sum. $32.5 million. On the other hand, Google can afford that: it makes tens of billions of euros in profit every year.
With this, Sonos continues to win: Google was also no longer allowed to import products into the US that violated Sonos’ patent. Google has solved that by removing some functions from its smart speakers. Google continues to work on it. We consider it unlikely that the two companies will work together in the future. It seems that the lawsuits are now over. That is also to be hoped, because then both companies can once again concentrate on inventing good tech themselves, instead of constantly getting into each other’s waters.