Google has been ordered to pay Sonos $32.5 million for infringing the company’s smart speaker patent. A jury verdict delivered in a San Francisco court on Friday found that Google’s smart speakers and media players infringed one of the two Sonos patents at issue.
Image: United States District Court for the Northern District of California
“We are deeply grateful for the jury’s time and diligence in defending the validity of our patents and recognizing the inventive value of Sonos zone scenes,” Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’ chief legal officer and chief financial officer, said in a statement. to the edge. “This verdict reaffirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio, as the International Trade Commission has already ruled with respect to five other Sonos patents. In total, we believe Google is infringing more than 200 Sonos patents and today’s award of damages, based on a significant portion of our portfolio, demonstrates the exceptional value of our intellectual property. Our goal remains that Google pays us a fair royalty for the Sonos inventions it has appropriated.”
“This is a limited dispute about some very specific features that are not commonly used,” Google spokesman Peter Schottenfels says in a statement to the edge. “Of the six patents Sonos originally asserted, only one was found to be infringed and the rest were dismissed as invalid or not infringed. We have always independently developed technology and competed on the merit of our ideas. We are considering our next steps.”
However, Sonos was not completely victorious in the case, as the jury decided that Google’s Home app did not infringe a separate patent filed by Sonos. The judge also told jurors to “ignore a $90 million damage estimate from a Sonos expert witness, saying he had decided some of the evidence provided was inadmissible.” law360 reports.
The decision will be seen as an embarrassing defeat for Google, but both companies came under heavy criticism from Judge William Alsup, who has presided over many court battles between tech companies. Alsup expressed his frustration that this case ever went to trial in the first place and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. He said that he was “emblematic of patent litigation at its worst.” He also noted the technical jargon surrounding the patents in question, and at one point checked with jurors to make sure they hadn’t fallen asleep, according to law360.
Update May 26, 7:18 pm ET: Added Sonos statement.
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