The Battle Continues: Sonos Sues Google For Infringing 5 Additional Patents, Google Also Sues Seeking Noninfringement Judgment

Sonos filed a complaint against Google on Tuesday in the Western District of Texas alleging infringement of five additional patents after its initial suit, filed in January in the Central District of California and the International Trade Commission (ITC). This is the latest in a series lawsuits between the companies. The California suit has been stayed pending the ITC’s decision on the pleadings. Additionally, in June Google countersued Sonos contending that false claims were made in regards to their shared work, and Google filed a complaint on Monday seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement for the five newly asserted patents against it.

Sonos proffered that Google infringed five wireless audio patents for its Google Home, Nest, and Chromecast product lines as well as Google’s Wireless Audio System. Sonos argued that initially Google sought to work with Sonos, and “through those efforts, gained access to Sonos’ engineers, products, and technology”; however, Google allegedly “shifted focus and began to develop and sell products that copied Sonos’ technology and infringed Sonos’ patents.” Sonos asserted that some of its success comes from the fact that its products are compatible with third-party music streaming services.

The complaint said “Sonos has already sued Google for infringing patents on its first group of inventions involving the set-up, control, playback, and synchronization of wireless playback devices. This case involves a second group of inventions which…tackle the novel technological challenges of how to stream music from a cloud-based service, how to create, manage, and invoke ‘zone scenes’ to configure how multiple playback devices work together, and how to dynamically adjust the equalization of a playback device based on the environment in which the playback device is operating.” Furthermore, Sonos averred that Google had actual knowledge of the patents-in-suit when it infringed. Sonos has sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an injunction, an award for damages, and other relief.

“We think it’s important to show the depth and breadth of Google’s copying,” Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’ Chief Legal Officer, said. “We showed them claim charts on 100 patents that we claimed they were infringing, all to no avail.”

Meanwhile, Google contended that it has not infringed Sonos’ newly asserted patents and sought declaratory judgment of non-infringement. Google alleged that “Sonos’ litigation campaign has harmed the reputations of these Google Accused Products; and Sonos’ affirmative allegation of infringement of the Patents-in-Suit by the Google Accused Products has created a justiciable controversy between Google and Sonos.” Google claimed that it has invested research and development in various technology and it partnered with Sonos, whereby Sonos “asked Google for assistance, so that Sonos could employ Google technology to improve Sonos’ products.” Specifically, Sonos allegedly asked Google for help integrating its products with Google’s Play Music service; Google stated that it assisted and provided various resources for Sonos. Google claimed that Sonos also asked for assistance with other endeavors. However, Google asserted that “Sonos has made false claims about the companies’ shared work and Google’s technology in lawsuits that Sonos filed.” Google proffered that it does not infringe on the patents-in-suit because its products do not utilize or comprise the patented technology, methodology or usage.

“Sonos has made misleading statements about our history of working together,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said. “Our technology and devices were designed independently. We deny their claims vigorously, and will be defending against them.”

Sonos is represented by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Lee Sullivan Shea & Smith LLP.  Google is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.