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Sonos wins $32.5 million patent infringement lawsuit over Google

Google has been ordered to pay Sonos $32.5 million for infringing the company’s smart speaker patent. A jury verdict handed down in a San Francisco courtroom on Friday found that Google’s smart speakers and media players infringed one of the two Sonos patents at issue.

Image: United States District Court for the Northern District of California

“This is a narrow dispute over some very specific features that are not common,” Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said in a statement to The Verge. “Of the six patents Sonos originally claimed, only one was found to be infringed, and the rest were dismissed as invalid or not infringed. We have always developed technology independently and competed on the merits of our ideas. We are considering our next steps.”

However, Sonos did not emerge victorious from the case, as the jury decided that Google’s Home app did not infringe a separate patent filed by Sonos. The judge also told jurors to “disregard a $90 million damage estimate from a Sonos expert witness, saying he had decided some of the evidence presented was inadmissible.” law 360 reports.

The decision will go down as an embarrassing defeat for Google, but both companies were the subject of sharp criticism from Judge William Alsup, who has presided over many courtroom battles for technology companies. Alsup expressed frustration that this case ever went to trial in the first place and that the two sides were unable to settle. He said it was “emblematic of the worst patent litigation”. He also noticed the technical jargon surrounding the patents in question, at one point checking with jurors to make sure they hadn’t fallen asleep, according to law 360.

Update 26 May at 5:30 p.m. ET: Updated to add a statement from a Google spokesperson.

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