Sonos, known for some of the best-sounding WiFi speakers on the market, has won their patent infringement case against Google. It’s not clear exactly how Google devices will be affected by the verdict, but it’s safe to assume there will be changes.
The case by Sonos, founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, and Trung Mai, claims that Google infringed on five of their patents, one relating specifically to the volume control in their smart speakers. These claims were confirmed just last week as viable by the US International Trade Commission, according to the New York Times. Their ruling re-affirms a previous ruling already made in August of 2021. The weight of this legal loss for Google could potentially force them to stop importing the necessary parts to manufacture some of their speaker products.
While one infringement related to sound levels, two others concerned the ability to sync devices in multiple locations over one network. Two of the other patents are about synchronizing multiple devices over a network. Not slow to respond, Google has already issued a blog post explaining that users now need to download an app to share speakers over the same network and that you can’t change the volume on these devices like you once could. It is not hard to see that not only is Google conceding defeat, but working quickly to remedy its legal obligations to cease the use of Sonos technology.
The Google products directly affected by the lawsuit include Nest Hub, Nest Mini, some Pixel phones, and Chromecast. The ruling doesn’t mention devices by name to ensure Google can’t make future products with their functionalities. According to Verge.com, Google spokesperson José Castaneda has said, “We do not expect any impact to our ability to import or sell our products.” Of course, whether this is true or not, Google’s hardware reputation has taken a hit with this setback and only time will tell if they can continue their ongoing ascent in the world of wireless wares.