US trade agency bans imports of some Google devices in patent Sonos fight

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Sonos won a product import ban in its patent fight against Google.

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Google will be barred from importing certain products using technology covered by a patent for home audio technology owned by speaker maker Sonos.

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US International Trade Commission issued a ban (PDF) Thursday, after a judge confirmed a decision in August that Google has infringed on five patents owned by Sonos. However, the decision affects current Google products due to modifications made to avoid patent infringement.

The ruling follows a lawsuit Sonos filed in January 2020, alleging that the search giant stole its technology when the two companies partnered to ensure that Google’s music service worked well with Sonos speakers. kind of works. The Santa Barbara, California-based company alleged that Google infringed on five patents, including technology that lets people listen to audio in different rooms.

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The ruling confirmed a preliminary decision in August by Chief Administrative Law Judge Charles E. Boluk, who found that Google was in violation of the Tariff Act of 1930. However, Bolk did not specify what caused the breach.

Sonos hailed Thursday’s decision, calling it an “won across the board.”

Sonos said in a statement, “While Google may sacrifice the consumer experience in an effort to circumvent this import restriction, its products will still infringe several dozens of Sonos patents, its wrongdoing will continue and Sonos will continue to suffer.” ”

Google said that although it disagreed with the decision, it appreciated that the commission approved its revised designs.

“We will seek further review and will continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous claims about our partnership and intellectual property,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Sonos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google’s patent battle with Sonos comes as the search giant faces intense scrutiny from federal and state officials over its size and competitive practices. The search engine giant is the target of several major antitrust lawsuits, including a landmark case by the US Justice Department and two complaints from a bipartisan coalition of states. Regulators and prosecutors are probing everything from Google’s search and advertising businesses to its Android operating system, the world’s foremost mobile software.

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