Did Google steal important smart speaker technology? The US International Trade Commission (ITC) says it looks like the tech giant infringed on five patents that belonged to Sonos.
Sonos was a pioneer in the smart audio industry and its networked soundbars led the smart speaker revolution. The company filed a lawsuit against Google claiming that they benefitted from the smaller company’s hard work and research to create Google’s own line of smart speakers.
The ITC agreed in a preliminary ruling. “Today the [Administrative Law Judge] has found all five of Sonos’ asserted patents to be valid and that Google infringes on all five patents,” Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus said in a statement provided to ZDNet. “We are pleased the ITC has confirmed Google’s blatant infringement of Sonos’ patented inventions. This decision re-affirms the strength and breadth of our portfolio, marking a promising milestone in our long-term pursuit to defend our innovation against misappropriation by Big Tech monopolies.”
By standing on the shoulders of Sonos’s hard work, Google was able to offer smart speakers far more cheaply than Sonos and overtake the market.