US jury says Google owes Sonos $32.5 million in smart speaker patent case

May 26 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc Google must pay $32.5 million in damages for infringing on one of the patents of smart speaker maker Sonos Inc in its wireless audio devices, a federal jury in San Francisco decided on Friday.

The case is part of a larger intellectual property dispute between the former collaborators that includes other lawsuits in the United States, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The companies previously worked together to integrate Google’s Mountain View, Calif.-based music streaming service into Sonos products. Sonos first sued Google for patent infringement in Los Angeles and before the United States International Trade Commission in 2020, accusing the tech giant of copying its technology during their collaboration on devices such as Google Home and Chromecast Audio.

Last year, Sonos won a limited import ban on certain Google devices from the ITC, which Google appealed.

Google countered with its own patent lawsuits in California and at the ITC, accusing Sonos of integrating the tech company’s technology into its smart speakers. Sonos called Google’s lawsuits a “bullying tactic” to “crush a smaller competitor.”

Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Sonos lost nearly a fifth of its market valuation earlier this month after slashing its revenue forecast.

The jury found that Google infringed one of the two Sonos patents at issue in the lawsuit. Sonos previously sought $90 million in damages from the court, a claim Google said in a court filing that Sonos reduced by $3 billion after U.S. District Judge William Alsup tightened the case.

A Google spokesperson said Friday that the case was a “narrow dispute over some very specific features that are not commonly used” and that the company was considering its next steps. Google also said it has “always developed technology independently and competed on the merit of our ideas.”

A Sonos spokesperson said the verdict “reaffirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio.”

Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington Editing by David Bario, Rosalba O’Brien and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, for Reuters Legal. He previously wrote for Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Practical Law and practiced as a barrister. Contact: 12029385713

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