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Google and Sonos face off in smart speaker patent dispute.

Google Home smart speakers, which respond to consumer's voice commands to control devices in the home or to answer questions out loud about topics including the weather, news or local services, in shown in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave/File Photo

On Monday, Sonos Inc. (SONO.O) and Alphabet’s Google LLC (GOOGL.O) will face off in a San Francisco federal trial over charges that Google stole Sonos’ patented smart speaker technology in wireless audio devices like Google Home and Chromecast Audio.

The former business partners are involved in many cases over intellectual property in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

According to a Google court filing, Sonos had requested $90 million in damages from Google in the San Francisco lawsuit, down from $3 billion when U.S. District Judge William Alsup reduced the case. Sonos claims Google infringes two multi-room wireless audio patents.
According to Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda, the issue involves “some very specific features that are not commonly used,” and Sonos “mischaracterized our partnership and technology.”
Sonos integrated Google’s streaming music service. In 2020, Sonos sued Google for patent infringement in Los Angeles and the U.S. International Trade Commission for duplicating its technologies during their partnership.

The ITC banned several Google gadgets last year, but Google appealed. Google retaliated with patent cases in California and the ITC.

Alsup criticized both firms. Last month, he labeled their assaults on one other’s expert evidence “emblematic of the worst of patent litigation” with “much ink spilled for little purpose.” In addition, he noted “enormous” expenditures on the case in a 2020 ruling.

“By the end, our parties’ legal bills will likely have been able to build dozens of schools, pay all the teachers, and provide hot lunches to the children,” the judge wrote.

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