Sonos Play One and Google Home (Image: Sonos, Google)
Sonos Play One and Google Home (Image: Sonos, Google)

David versus Goliath

Sonos sues Google

| UW

The search engine giant is said to have infringed Sonos patents with its Chromecast products.

Sonos is the inofficial king of wireless multi-room systems. As a pioneer of this technology, Sonos launched its first wireless speakers in 2005, and has secured over 750 patents. As music streaming services began to emerge, wireless systems became even more popular, and Sonos made it a priority to bring all streaming providers on board – including the Google Play Music service, which was launched in 2013. To make this happen, Sonos worked closely with Google and provided the streaming provider with deep insight into its multi-room technology. Two years later, in 2015, Google suddenly launched its own wireless adapter: Chromecast Audio, which soon became multiroom-ready via a software update. Sonos claims that in doing so, Google has infringed various patents, particularly for grouping and synchronizing multiple wireless speakers and controlling the volume, either jointly or individually. Later, Google expanded its multi-room system to include multiple wireless speakers – in direct competition with Sonos, but at lower prices. These are subsidised prices, says Sonos, which are only possible because Google collects user data with its wireless speakers and earns money with it. Sonos has now filed a lawsuit in two US courts and is seeking damages from Google – and a ban on the sale of the relevant Google products in the US.


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