Sonos emerges victorious in a patent infringement case against Google, securing a substantial $32.5 million settlement

Sonos vs Google

Google has been ordered by a jury to pay Sonos $32.5 million for violating one of Sonos’ smart speaker patents. The verdict was reached in a San Francisco courtroom, concluding that Google’s smart speakers and media players infringed upon one of the Sonos patents in question.

The legal dispute began in 2020 when Sonos accused Google of copying its patented multiroom audio technology, following their partnership in 2013. Sonos previously won a case at the US International Trade Commission, resulting in a limited import ban on certain Google devices and the removal of some features from Google’s smart speaker and smart display lineup.

Last August, Google countersued Sonos, claiming that Sonos had infringed on Google’s smart speakers and voice control technology. The most recent trial started earlier this month.

Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’ chief legal officer and CFO, expressed gratitude for the jury’s decision, emphasizing the value of Sonos’ patents and highlighting Google’s repeated infringement of their patent portfolio. Lazarus stated that Sonos believes Google infringes on over 200 of their patents and hopes for fair compensation for their inventions.

Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels responded by stating that the dispute revolves around specific features that are not commonly used, with only one out of the six patents asserted by Sonos being found infringed. Google is considering its next steps.

Although Sonos won the case regarding one patent, the jury ruled that Google’s Home app did not infringe on a separate patent filed by Sonos. Additionally, the judge instructed the jurors to disregard a $90 million damages estimate from a Sonos expert witness, deeming certain evidence inadmissible.

The outcome marks a significant defeat for Google, and both companies faced criticism from Judge William Alsup, who presided over the case. Alsup expressed frustration that the dispute escalated to trial and criticized the parties involved, describing the case as an example of the worst aspects of patent litigation. He also acknowledged the technical complexity of the patents involved, even checking with the jurors to ensure their engagement during the proceedings.