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Google Sues Sonos over Smart Speaker and Voice Control Tech

With two lawsuits, Google is retaliating against Sonos by claiming that the wireless speaker manufacturer is infringing on a number of its patents related to smart speakers and voice control technologies. It’s the latest salvo in a legal struggle over wireless speakers that has so far featured several Sonos lawsuits, one lawsuit, and a judgement in favour of Sonos that resulted in the removal of functionality from devices.

Seven more patents are allegedly infringed upon according to these latest cases. In one case, wireless charging and hotword recognition are the main topics, while in the other, it’s how a collection of speakers decides which one should respond to voice input.The lawsuits are being brought, according to Google spokesperson José Castaeda, to “protect our technology and fight Sonos’s apparent, continuous infringement of our patents.” Sonos has “launched an aggressive and deceptive campaign against our goods, at the detriment of our joint customers,” according to Castaeda.

Both cases were submitted this morning to the Northern District of California’s federal district court. According to Castaeda, Google intends to file comparable cases with the US International Trade Commission in the upcoming days with the goal of preventing the importation of any Sonos goods that violate its intellectual property.

In a statement to The Verge, Sonos’ chief legal officer, Eddie Lazarus, called the new lawsuits “intimidation tactics” that were meant to “retaliate against Sonos for speaking out against Google monopolistic practises,” “allow Google to avoid royalty payments,” and “grind down a smaller competitor.” It won’t work, I’m afraid.

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