The first big tech legal battle of 2020 has just started. The New York Times reports speaker company Sonos has filed a lawsuit against Google. Sonos claims Google stole five of its patents, and have been using them in its Chromecast, Google Home and Pixel devices.
The NYT article states Sonos is also not happy with Amazon, alleging that the company has also been illegally using its patents for the Echo lineup of products. However, Sonos decided to go after Google in its lawsuit, as it felt it could not take on both Google and Amazon at once.
Sonos claims that in 2013, Google wanted to have its Google Play Music service supported by Sonos’ lineup of speakers. Sonos stated it sent Google diagrams of how its speakers connected wirelessly with each other as part of this planned support. In 2016, the first Google Home smart speaker launched and Sonos claims it found that those speakers used the company’s technology. It also claims that it informed Google that it violated Sonos’ patents over three years ago but the two companies have yet to reach an agreement.
In the meantime, Sonos has seen both Google and Amazon release their own smart speakers, mostly at price points that are well below the devices that Sonos sells. In a statement, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said, “Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology,” and added, “We’re left with no choice but to litigate.”
A Google spokesperson is quoted in the article as saying the company is “disappointed” Sonos has decided to take the company to court over this dispute. The spokesperson added, “We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously.” While not being sued (yet), Amazon also sent its own statement, claiming “The Echo family of devices and our multi-room music technology were developed independently by Amazon.”