Sonos filed a federal lawsuit against Google as well as a complaint with the US International Trade Commission. According to the commission, Google infringed on Sonos’ patents on speaker technology. Later, Google filed a countersuit against Sonos, alleging that the latter was infringing on its patents. Sonos announced in January 2020 that it would not allow Google to import products that infringe on its intellectual property.
Sonos had requested that the commission prohibit imports of Google products that infringe on its patents, trademarks, or copyrights. The judge didn’t say why he thought Google had broken the 1930 Tariff Act. Sonos is a company that manufactures smart speakers, phones, and other products in China and ships them to the United States.
The judge’s decision is not final; the full commission must consider it before making a final decision. If an import ban is enacted, it will not go into effect for another 60 days, well past the holiday shopping season. Google has stated that it disagrees with the preliminary ruling and that it will continue to argue its case during the upcoming review process.
Google, according to Sonos’ chief legal officer, is a “serial infringer” of the company’s patents. He estimated that Google had infringed on over 150 of Sonos’ patents. He described the case before the commission as “just the tip of the iceberg.” In California and Texas, Sonos and Google are also involved in a patent dispute.