Sonos Files Lawsuit Against D&M Holdings Over HEOS Product Line

Sonos has filed a lawsuit against D&M Holdings in the state of Delaware over Denon’s HEOS wireless home audio product line. Sonos says D&M Holdings infringes on at least four of its patents.

Sonos Files Lawsuit Against D&M Holdings Over HEOS Product Line
In a recently posted blog on its website, Sonos says the newly introduced HEOS system from the D&M Holding brand Denon infringes on at least four Sonos patents.
Robert Archer · October 22, 2014

In a battle that could become custom electronic industry’s version of Apple vs. Samsung, Sonos is taking exception to the recently announced HEOS wireless audio system from Denon and has filed a lawsuit in Delaware against D&M Holdings.

Craig Shelburne, co-founder and general counsel for Sonos, says D&M Holdings (the parent company of Denon and Marantz) is infringing on several Sonos patents in a blog posted on the company’s website on Oct. 21. Shelburne says many of the features built into the Denon system utilize elements that have already been brought to market by Sonos and the company has come to the conclusion that it needs to take legal action.

From the blog:

Today, we notified one of these companies, D&M Holdings (a financial investment company that owns Denon), that they infringe at least four Sonos patents.

For anyone who has looked at Denon’s Heos product line, you will recognize many of the same elements found in Sonos products, with little or no effort to differentiate features or functionality. Beginning with its product name and messaging (which in some instances they have just copied word for word), Denon borrows liberally from virtually all aspects of the Sonos story. As one product reviewer noted, “If you’re familiar with the Sonos product line, you’ll get a serious case of déjà-vu looking at the HEOS offering.”

We evaluated whether D&M Holdings violates other intellectual property rights of Sonos and have learned that D&M Holdings’ manufacture, distribution, and/or sale of the HEOS system infringe a number of Sonos patents related to wireless audio products. Because of these violations, we filed a lawsuit in Delaware, our state of incorporation.

(Click here for the entire 258-page lawsuit PDF.)

Shelburne says in the blog Sonos is not seeking royalty or licensing fees. The company would like to talk with Denon and offer them time to modify its products.

Sonos says it cannot comment on the matter beyond the blog post, but it looks forward to the challenge of competition that is developing within the growing wireless whole-house audio category.

“We have always anticipated and continue to welcome competition in a space where we’ve worked alone for so long, but with the caveat that these new entrants come up with new ideas and true innovations, not merely copy what we have invented,” Shelburne writes.

CE Pro has reached out to Denon for comment.

Update: D+M Group Responds to Sonos Litigation

  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · News · D&M Holdings · Denon · HEOS · Sonos · All Topics
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