Sonos Sues Google for Allegedly Stealing Smart Speaker Technology

Sonos says that it warned Google multiple times starting in 2016 that it was infringing on its patents.
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Sonos (SONO) - Get Report stepped up its battle with Google (GOOGL) - Get Report on Tuesday, filing a lawsuit alleging that Google infringed on five of its patents for wireless multi-room audio technology.

The lawsuit claims that Google gained knowledge of Sonos’ patented technology as early as 2013 after Google integrated Sonos with its own Google Play Music platform via a partnership.

However, by 2015, Sonos claims Google was willfully infringing on Sonos’ patents when it launched its Chromecast Audio product. After that, Google allegedly continued to infringe on Sonos intellectual property as it introduced Google Home, Google Home Mini, Google Home Max as well as its Pixel mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

Sonos says that it warned Google that it was infringing on its patents as early as 2016.

“The harm produced by Google’s infringement has been profoundly compounded by Google’s business strategy to use its multi-room audio products to vacuum up invaluable consumer data from users and thus further entrench the Google platform among its users and ultimately fuel its dominant advertising and search platforms,” the lawsuit says.

In a statement, Google said it disputed Sonos' claims and plans to defend itself. “Over the years, we have had numerous ongoing conversations with Sonos about both companies' IP rights and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith," said a Google spokesperson.

Sonos also filed a separate petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission to block the sale of the allegedly infringing products. 

Sonos says that it invented what is currently known as wireless multi-room audio. According to Sonos, before its innovations were introduced to the market, multi-room audio systems were dependent on a centralized receiver hardwired into each individual speaker throughout a residence. Sonos technology, however, allowed for the decentralization that is present in the smart home speakers produced by today's tech giants.

Sonos shares were rising 0.3% to $15.69 Tuesday afternoon while Alphabet shares held on to a slight 0.2% increase to $1,396.65. Sonos shares are up 47% over the last 12 months.