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Google Loses to Sonos in U.S. Patent Ruling That Bars Imports of Some Units

Google Loses to Sonos in U.S. Patent Ruling That Bars Imports of Some Units

Google infringed on audio patents held by

Sonos Inc.

SONO -0.10%

and is barred from importing a few of its Nest audio audio system and different violating merchandise, a U.S. commerce company dominated on Thursday.

The U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee discovered the

Alphabet Inc.

GOOG -0.07%

-owned search big violated 5 of Sonos’s patents associated to synchronizing audio, adjusting quantity and connecting to Wi-Fi. The courtroom decided that Google ought to cease importing merchandise that used these patents.

Sonos Chief Authorized Officer

Eddie Lazarus

known as it an “throughout the board win” for the corporate and known as on Google to “pay a good royalty for the applied sciences it has misappropriated.”

Google spokesman

José Castañeda

mentioned the tech big would attraction the choice. “We’ll search additional assessment and proceed to defend ourselves towards Sonos’s frivolous claims about our partnership and mental property,” he mentioned.

The ruling could have restricted impact on Google’s product line as a result of the corporate has revamped the design of some beforehand infringing merchandise resembling its Pixel smartphones and Nest audio system. The courtroom vetted these adjustments and dominated that the overhauled merchandise will be shipped with out violating the import ban.

Nonetheless, the ultimate determination may elevate strain on Google to strike a licensing take care of Sonos for a portfolio of patents. Rising competitors in audio system from tech giants resembling

Amazon.com Inc.

and

Apple Inc.

have squeezed Sonos’s gross sales, main the corporate to look past its legacy {hardware} enterprise by licensing its audio patents to rivals.

Analysts estimate that such an settlement with Google would internet Sonos as a lot as $50 million yearly. The audio firm reported $1.34 billion in gross sales for its most up-to-date fiscal yr.

Shares of Sonos rose 5.65% in after-hours buying and selling. Alphabet shares have been up 0.3% after hours.

The patent dispute has performed out amid rising regulatory strain on tech giants, as lawmakers, regulators and rivals accuse Google, Apple and Amazon of utilizing their monetary may and highly effective platforms to curtail competitors. Sonos has helped lead an assault towards these bigger gamers, testifying earlier than the Senate that they subsidize merchandise to achieve market share and additional their dominance.

Sonos made the ITC case one in every of its signature efforts to fight Google’s rise in good audio system. In its grievance, it mentioned that it started working in 2013 to combine Google Play Music into Sonos audio system and offered Google with deep perception into its proprietary expertise. It accused Google of copying that expertise and integrating it into its Google Residence audio system.

It received a preliminary ruling within the case in August final yr. The corporate additionally filed complementary patent-infringement lawsuits in U.S. District Courtroom in California and later in Texas. These instances are pending.

Google countersued Sonos final June for patent infringement in California federal courtroom. Its lawsuit claims Sonos infringed on 5 Google patents, together with ones associated to audio and search. The case is pending.

The tit-for-tat tussle over patents has turn out to be an everyday technique for tech gamers preventing to take care of their management in a class. Apple sued

Samsung Electronics Co.

in 2011, accusing it of copying the iPhone. Starting in 2017,

Qualcomm Inc.

and Apple engaged in a multiyear battle over semiconductor patents in courts around the globe.

Wall Avenue analysts have largely shrugged off the Sonos dispute’s potential influence on Alphabet, which generates greater than 80% of its income from digital adverts and has $142 billion in money.

Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared within the January 7, 2022, print version as ‘Panel Guidelines Google Infringed Patents.’

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