Alphabet's Google must pay $32.5 million (roughly Rs. 268 crore) in damages for infringing one of smart-speaker maker Sonos's patents in its wireless audio devices, a San Francisco federal jury decided on Friday.
The case is part of a sprawling intellectual property dispute between the former collaborators that includes other lawsuits in the US, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The companies previously worked together to integrate Mountain View, California-based Google's streaming music service into Sonos products. Sonos first sued Google for patent infringement in Los Angeles and at the US International Trade Commission in 2020, accusing the tech giant of copying its technology during their collaboration in devices including Google Home and Chromecast Audio.
Sonos last year won a limited import ban on some Google devices from the ITC, which Google has appealed.
Google has countered with its own patent lawsuits in California and at the ITC, accusing Sonos of incorporating the tech company's technology into its smart speakers. Sonos has called Google's lawsuits an "intimidation tactic" to "grind down a smaller competitor."
Santa Barbara, California-based Sonos lost nearly one-fifth of its market valuation earlier this month after cutting its revenue forecast.
A Google spokesperson said on Friday the case was a "narrow dispute about some very specific features that are not commonly used," and that the company was considering its next steps. Google also said it has "always developed technology independently and competed on the merit of our ideas."
A Sonos spokesperson said the verdict "re-affirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio."
© Thomson Reuters 2023
Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.