Google Countersued Sonos, Alleges False Claims Made About Shared Work

Google has filed a countersuit against Sonos in response to Sonos’ patent infringement suit brought in January. That suit claimed Google infringed upon its web-connected speaker designs via Google’s Chromecast Audio product, among others.

Google and Sonos have had a longstanding partnership. Google said “[i]n these collaborations, Sonos has repeatedly asked Google for assistance, so that Sonos could employ Google technology to improve Sonos’ products.” Moreover, in 2013 Sonos asked Google to integrate Google’s Play Music service with its products; Google stated that it assisted to integrate these entities. However, Google states that “Sonos has made false claims about the companies’ shared work and Google’s technology in the lawsuits that Sonos filed against Google earlier this year.” Google added that “[w]hile Google rarely sues other companies for patent infringement, it must assert its intellectual property rights here.”

Specifically, Google claimed that Sonos infringed on U.S. Patent Nos. 7,899,187 (the “’187 patent”); 8,583,489 (the “’489 patent”); 10,140,375 (the “’375 patent”); 7,065,206 (the “’206 patent”); and 10,229,586 (the “’586 patent”). Google stated that these patents “allow networked digital audio devices to create robust wireless communications networks, access and play copy-protected media, adaptively control echo and ambient noise, and search multiple music libraries simultaneously.” Google alleged that Sonos “is using substantial volumes of Google’s technology, including patented Google innovations in search, software, networking, audio processing, and digital media management and streaming, both in Sonos’ hardware products and in Sonos’ software and service offerings, including the current-generation Sonos controller application (hereafter ‘S2 App’), prior-generation Sonos controller application (hereafter ‘S1 Controller App’), and the Sonos Radio service.”

Google claimed that Sonos infringes on claim 10 of the ’187 patent. via its Sonos One products, among others. The Accused Products “comprise communication circuitry that is capable of receiving domain information from a device existing within a domain of devices, which share rights associated with a common account, for use in accessing protected digital content within a digital-rights management system.”

Google asserted that Sonos has infringed on at least claim 15 of the ’489 patent through the “Sonos S1 Controller App and S2 App for storage in non-transitory memory.” Specifically, these devices are “designed to be installed on, and are in fact installed on…devices with one or more non-transitory computer-readable media having instructions therein, the instructions being executable by one or more processors.” Further, Google states that Sonos’ products “include instructions that are executable by one or more processors to execute a method comprising receiving, at the one or more processors, a selection of media content and content delivery preferences, wherein the content delivery preferences comprise a selection of a plurality of unique online content sources specified by a user interface and user account data for each of the plurality of a unique online content sources.”

Google states that Sonos infringes on at least claim 9 of the ’206 patent because Sonos’ products “each comprise an audio input configured to receive a received signal…[and the products] each have a far field microphone array and associated audio processing circuitry to receive and capture sounds such as a user’s voice.” These also include an “adaptive echo and noise control system,” aiding in voice capture and to help with the desired signal. The process to achieve this echo and noise system, configuration and signaling is included in the ’206 patent, according to Google.

Lastly, Google alleged that Sonos infringed on at least claim 1 of the ’586 patent because each of the Accused Products “constitute an audio-enabled wireless device configured for bidirectional wireless communication in a wireless mesh network.” Specifically, these products include an “audio-enabled wireless device that can connect to a WiFi network or to other Sonos products, including one connected via Ethernet port directly to a router.” Thus, Google alleges that Sonos has infringed upon this patent.

Google has sought judgment in its favor; an award for damages, including trebling all awarded damages; an injunction; to declare this case exceptional; award for costs and fees; prejudgment interest; and other relief as determined by the court.

The suit is filed in the Northern District of California. Google is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.