Google is suing Sonos (again) over patent infringement in what seems to be an unending legal fight series between two tech companies. The two new lawsuits filed Monday center around various patents involving keyword detection, charging using “technologies invented by Google” and determining what speaker from a group should respond to the keyword.
A post from Bloomberg Law noted that both these lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The report said that Google accused Sonos products — like the Sonos One, Arc, Beam, Move and Roam — of violating seven patents.
“Rather than compete on the basis of innovation and product quality, Sonos has decided to compete in the courtroom, and started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers. We prefer innovation to litigation but their actions leave us no choice but to defend our technology and challenge Sonos’s clear, continued infringement of our patents,” José Castañeda, Google spokesperson, told TechCrunch in a statement.
The search giant also plans to take these complaints to the U.S. International Trade Commission in the coming days, Castañeda added. The company will ask the commission to impose a ban on the import of any products that are found infringing the above-mentioned patents.
The search giant’s lawsuit document, seen by TechCrunch, targeted the recently introduced Sonos voice assistant, saying that Google has patents for “enabling voice assistant technology and providing improvements to the efficiency, reliability, and durability of voice-controlled and battery-powered devices,” and Sonos is using them without its permission.
“For example, Sonos has recently introduced its Sonos Voice Control feature to control its products in a power-efficient manner through the use of “hotwords,” and to manage battery charging of its products, using technologies invented by Google,” it said.
In response, Sonos said that this is Google’s arm-twisting tactic against the Santa Barbra-based smart speaker company for criticizing the search giant’s monopolistic methods.
“Google previously sued us all over the world and Sonos has prevailed in every decided case. By contrast, the courts have repeatedly validated Sonos’ claims that Google is infringing its core patented smart speaker technology. Google’s new lawsuits are an intimidation tactic designed to retaliate against Sonos for speaking out against Google’s monopolistic practices, avoid paying Sonos a fair royalty for the roughly 200 patents it is currently infringing, and grind down a smaller competitor whose innovations it has misappropriated. It will not succeed,” said Eddie Lazarus, Chief Legal Officer of Sonos in a statement to TechCrunch.
Google and Sonos have been at loggerheads about wireless speaker tech patents for a while now. The latter got a big win earlier this year when the U.S. Trade Commission said Google had infringed on patents related to casting and group speaker controls. The Mountain View-based company had to remove from its offerings some functionality, like a single group volume control for a set of speakers.
Last week, a California judge sided with Google by canceling a Sonos patent related to transferring the playback queue of tracks from one speaker to another.
Story updated with Sonos’ response.