A US commercial court late Thursday banned Google from importing products that infringe the smart speaker patents of home audio company Sonos.
The US International Trade Commission upheld a decision in August that Google audio products infringed five Sonos patents and banned Google from importing “network speaker devices” and devices that can control them, such as cell phones and laptops.
According to the ruling, Google will not be barred from importing products it has redesigned to prevent patent infringement. A Google spokesperson said it doesn’t expect the decision to affect its ability to import or sell its products.
“We will seek further review and continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous claims about our partnership and intellectual property,” the company said.
Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus called the ruling an “across the board” victory and said Google’s products still infringe patents despite efforts to design around them.
Shares of Sonos rose 1.5 percent in late morning trading on Friday, having previously risen more than 3 percent.
The parties have been embroiled in a global patent war over multi-room audio technology since 2020, including lawsuits in California, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, according to a registration filing from Sonos.
Sonos first sued Google in Los Angeles for misusing its technology in “more than a dozen different infringing products,” including Google Home speakers and Pixel phones, tablets and laptops.
Google responded with a lawsuit of its own in San Francisco, alleging that Sonos used “significant amounts” of its technology without authorization for several products, including controller apps and its Sonos Radio service.
At the ITC, Sonos tried to prevent Google Home from importing speakers, Pixel phones and other products from China.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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