Google Moves Quickly To Go After “Patent Troll” Sonos After Court Win
Google has moved quickly to go after Sonos who have been described as a “Patent Troll” Company following a recent court loss, with Google moving to reactivate software within 48 hours that will see Google Nest speakers and Chromecast displays speakers able to be paired after a US judge slammed Sonos and their previous obtaining of patents.
The big search Company is restoring several of the features and functionality it previously removed when Sonos took legal action against Google claiming that they were in breach of Sonos patents which have since been described as “Questionable”.
Since the judgement Sonos shares have fallen close to 6% and are down close to 30% year to date.
At the weekend, a US federal court judge ruled in favour of Google who within hours of the decision said, “We recently made a change to speaker groups for Nest speakers, displays, and Chromecast where certain devices can only belong to one speaker group at a time in the Google Home app,”.
The company wrote on its Nest community blog. “In light of this legal decision we’re happy to share that we will be rolling back this change. Devices will be able to belong to multiple speaker groups and you will no longer run into an error when trying to add a device to additional groups.”
Google says it has already started to roll out these changes and expects them to reach all devices and the Google Home app for Android within 48 hours.
(They’re “coming soon” to the home app on iOS but with less clear timing.)
Sonos initially sued Google in 2020 accusing the company of infringing on over 200 of the company’s patents.
The allegation centred around Google stealing Sonos’ technology for multi-room listening however a judge as basically ruled that the patents are not valid a decision that Sonos claims they will appeal.
The case whittled down to focus on a set of five patents, Google lost the original trial by jury.
The case was elevated to federal courts, where Google came out victorious against Sonos.
A blog post from Google General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado happily ripped apart the Sonos campaign, revelling in the Google win.
Two of Sonos’ patents were rejected as a result of the federal hearing, which renders Sonos’ patent case useless he said.
Sonos has said it plans to appeal Judge William Alsup’s ruling, which threw out an initial $32.5 million verdict, but apparently, Google is confident that the decision won’t be reversed in the near term.
The US Federal Court basically insinuated that Sonos is no better than a patent troll.
The judge also revealed how flawed the timeline of Sonos’ accusations were.
In the judgement he said, “In fact, in 2014, five years before Sonos filed the applications and presented the claims, accused infringer Google shared with Sonos a plan for a product that would practice what would become the claimed invention,” Judge Alsup continued.
“Google then began introducing its own products that practiced the invention in 2015. Even so, Sonos waited until 2019 to pursue claims on the invention (and until 2020 to roll out the invention in its own product line).”
Those who own Google products like Google Home or Chromecast should see an update that re-enables the multi-room audio function.
The update is rolling out over the next 48 hours to the products, and an update to the Google Home App on iOS is expected soon.
Questions are now being asked as to whether Google will allow Sono’s speakers to be Google voice activated or Chromecast enabled in the future.
It’s also expected that Sonos could be facing a significant legal bill following the loss to Google.