According to a report in the New York Times, the Google and Sonos court ruled that Mountain View residents infringed on Sonus patented audio technologies in the smart home and audio devices sector, and that all products that infringe patent technology must be imported into the United States. Be prohibited. In fact, the court ruling could deal a severe blow to Google’s business in the US market; Because this lawsuit covers almost all of the major search engine giants of the world.
Sonos has reportedly asked the Fed to stop selling all products that use its proprietary technology illegally, including products such as smartphones under the Google Home family, Chromext, Nest, Pixel smartphones, and even Pixelbook computers. The commission order also orders Google to stop selling controversial products that it already has in stock in the United States!
It is interesting to note that Sonos accuses Google of infringing more than 100 patents and claims that Google has not signed any license agreement to use them. In general, a license agreement allows companies to use another company’s registered technology in their products for a fee. This is what is known in the industry as a patent. In this case, Google allegedly used Sonus technology in its hardware products without permission or payment, and naturally Sonus is also seeking damages.
It should be noted, however, that Google products may not be completely barred from entering the United States; Because the final decision must be made by President Joe Biden. If Joe Biden’s government vetoes Sonos’ request, Google will not face a ban on hardware imports. According to the report, Biden will eventually have a veto for up to 60 days, otherwise the sale of the hardware in the lawsuit will be legally prohibited in the United States.
Perhaps Google’s only hope is Biden’s veto; But the company can also appeal the ruling in the U.S. Supreme Patent Court. The leaked documents from the court show that the ruling is very important based on five patents. In fact, all of these patents include technology embedded in a system that uses an audio device to pair with other products to create a stereo system. In addition, a system for remotely controlling the sound of one or a group of synchronized speakers may be added to infringing patents.
Google rejects illegal copying of these features to its device ecosystem, claiming that it has redesigned some of the key features that make voice synchronization possible for smart speakers. If the statements and documents provided by Google are correct, the company can acquit itself of the charges. However, it seems that Google has removed several infringing technologies from its smart headphones before the trial.
According to 9to5Google, the voice control for Google Home speakers connected to a stereo system is not as good as it used to be for some users and does not work properly. It was rumored that this might be the result of deliberately destroying some of the features that Sonos had objected to in his patent lawsuit. However, it seems that we are not dealing with a simple case at all, and apparently, the roots of Google’s enmity with Sonus go back to the past.
Sonos claims to have shared details of its patented technology with Google in 2013; But the two companies have not been able to come to terms with the licensing agreements. Instead, two years later, Google began building its smart home hardware under the Home brand, apparently using the same patents illegally in its products.
At one point, Sonos was working on a technology called Concurrency that allowed several artificial intelligence assistants, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, to work on a single device and stay active at the same time. According to the Washington Post, the idea was not welcomed by Google and is cited as one of the reasons for the company’s cold relations. Edi Lazarus, Sonos’s legal director, recently said:
As a condition of having an assistant assistant in our products, Google has requested that we never be allowed to sync with another public voice assistant. As a result, today our customers have to download an application and manually select which voice assistant to configure on their device. This forced choice reduces the consumer experience; But it is definitely useful for Google. Google’s bet is that most users will choose Assistant Assistant as their default voice assistant and then be attracted to the Google ecosystem.
Sonos also says that Google has made it very difficult to compete by producing duplicate products at subsidized prices; What Sonus and other smart speaker companies can’t compete with. It is worth mentioning that the price of computers is a condition. Large companies, due to strong financial support, sell the prices of their products at a loss and cheaper than other competitors, and instead become profitable due to more sales and attracting users to their ecosystem and services.
However, we will have to wait and see what the final outcome of the lawsuit between the two companies will be and what decision Joe Biden will take to ban the import of Google products.