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Sonos Patents Were Infringed by Google, U.S. Trade Agency Rules

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Alphabet's Google infringed five patents held by the speaker producer Sonos, reports say.
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The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google infringed five patents held by the speaker producer Sonos,  (SONO) - Get Sonos, Inc. Report, media reports say.

The federal agency, which rules in trade disputes, barred the Mountain View, Calif., tech giant from importing products that violate the intellectual property of Sonos, the Santa Barbara, Calif., sound-system producer.

In an August preliminary ruling an ITC judge found that Google had infringed the five patents.

The products that Google is prohibited from importing include some of its Nest audio speakers. Nest is Google's line of home-automation systems, which also include thermostats, smart light bulbs and other equipment.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus as calling the ruling an "across the board win" for the company. He called on Google to "pay a fair royalty for the technologies it has misappropriated."

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Google is not done. A spokesman for the advertising and tech-services and -products provider said the company would appeal. He called Sonos's claims "frivolous."

The Journal reported that the effect on Google's product line will be limited because the company has changed the designs of some products, including its Pixel smartphones and Nest speakers.

At the same time, the paper reported, the decision could pressure Google to strike a licensing deal with Sonos for a patent portfolio.

The broader context for the patent dispute, the paper reported, is rising regulatory pressure on the tech giants which lawmakers charge have used their size and platforms to limit competition.

At last check Sonos shares were trading up 4.7% at $30.23. Alphabet shares were trading little changed at $2,759,