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




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

The case is part of an extensive intellectual property dispute between the former partners that includes other lawsuits in the US, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

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

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

Google has countered with its own patent lawsuits in California and at the ITC, accusing Sonos of incorporating the tech company’s technology into its smart speakers. Sonos has called Google’s lawsuit a “scare tactic” to “grind down a smaller competitor”.

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

The jury found that Google infringed one of Sonos’ two patents at issue in the trial. Sonos had previously asked the court for $90 million in damages, a request Google said in a lawsuit Sonos had reduced from $3 billion after U.S. District Judge William Alsup limited the case.

A Google spokesperson said Friday that the case was a “limited 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 merits of our ideas.”

A Sonos spokesperson said the ruling “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: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

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



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