A California judge has ruled Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) must stand trial in intellectual property infringement lawsuit brought by Sonos (Nasdaq: SONO) , but at the same time has reduced some of the initial patent claims against the tech giant.
In a ruling announced April 13 in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, in the case of Sonos, Inc. v. Google LLC, U.S. District Judge William Alsup threw out one of the patent claims by Sonos and ruled that one of the other violations was unintentional. However, he determined that two remaining patent infringement allegations will continue. The case is set for trial on May 8.
The ongoing two-year battle revolves around claims by Sonos that Google stole intellectual property for its multiroom audio solution during the time the two companies were partnering. Back in January of this year, the International Trade Commission (ITC) substantiated an earlier ruling from August 2021 that said Google had violated five of Sonos’ audio patents. That ruling instituted a limited ban on the imports of Google Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, and Chromecast video streaming devices.
Specifically, the ITC ruled that Google violated the Tariff Act of 1930. That law is designed to stop unfair competition via the import of products that infringe on U.S. patents, trademarks or copyrights.
Lawsuit Ruling Limits One Sonos Patent Claim Against Google
In this latest judgement, the judge determined that one of Sonos’ patents was invalid, but he denied Google’s demand to throw out the other two claims. Moreover, the ruling determined that Google did not purposely infringe on one of the patents. That determination is likely to reduce the amount of money Sonos will be able to win from the case.
According to the ruling, which refers to the case as “patent showdown” procedure, each side has already won a summary judgement on a single claim. Google has been granted victory in one claim (615 patent) and Sonos has a win on another (815 patent). Sonos has withdrawn another claim. The trial will revolve around three remaining claims:
- 033 Patent – Systems and Methods for Networked Music Playback
- 885 and 966 Patents – Casting to Zone Scene Management
For its part, Google claims that Sonos copied its technology in a lawsuit filed in July 2022.
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