In January 2020, Sonos sued Google over patent infringement. Sonos has been trying to block Google from importing Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and other products from China. Sonos said it was pleased with the preliminary ruling, which it said “confirmed Google’s blatant infringement” and furthered its efforts to defend its technology against alleged misappropriation by larger rivals.
The patent dispute between Sonos and Google comes at a time when big tech companies are under increased scrutiny from lawmakers for anti-competitive behavior. Google said that Sonos asked for help several times over their years of partnership and ultimately integrated Sonos products into its Play Music service and Google Assistant software. Some Sonos speakers have used voice assist technology from Google and Amazon.com. Google’s Nest smart speakers include Google Assistant technology.
Ultimately, Sonos is hoping to use the ITC to block the import of those smart speakers, along with other Google hardware, including the Chromecast and Pixels. Such a decision would be a massive hit to Google’s hardware ambitions. A final ruling isn’t expected until December 13, however, after which point a potential import ban would take 60 days to go into effect.