A San Francisco jury just ruled that Google will need to pay $32.5 million to speaker maker Sonos over a patent infringement.
After a lengthy legal battle that started back in 2020 when Sonos sued Google for stealing the technology for its patented multiroom audio system, the verdict from the jury last Friday found that one of Google’s own speaker systems had infringed on a Sonos pattern.
Google was ordered to pay $2.30 for each of the 14,133,558 Sonos units in question that were infringed upon.
Sonos’ victory over Google comes after it won a case against Google at the US International Trade Commission in early 2022.
That ruling, at the time, placed a ban on some Google devices that had allegedly copied their Sonos counterparts and forced Google to get rid of some features from its smart speaker/smart display range.
The First in a Series of Google Losses?
The embarrassing defeat to Google isn’t as bad as it could have been.
The jury ruled that Google hadn’t infringed on a separate patent filed by Sonos and the judge told the jury to ignore a Sonos expert witness who had recommended the damages be set at $90 million, given some of the evidence submitted had supposedly been inadmissible.
But this latest court case could be the first in a series of damaging losses for the US tech giant.
According to Sonos’ chief legal officer and CFO Eddie Lazarus, the “verdict re-affirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio, as the International Trade Commission has already ruled with respect to five other Sonos patents”.
“We believe Google infringes more than 200 Sonos patents and today’s damages award,” he continued, adding that “our goal remains for Google to pay us a fair royalty for the Sonos inventions it has appropriated”.
Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said in a separate statement to the press that Google has “always developed technology independently and competed on the merit of our ideas”, and “we are considering our next steps”.
Those “next steps” alluded to by the Google spokesperson could relate to a counterpunch currently being thrown by Google against Sonos.
The US tech giant sued the speaker maker of allegedly infringing on its own smart speaker and voice control technology last August and the trial started a few weeks ago.
Sonos and Google had previously been bedfellows, having worked together to integrate Google’s music streaming platform into various Sonos products.
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