Sonos has decided to take on Google, suing the monster tech company for allegedly infringing on its sound-sharing patents, and throwing itself into what will almost certainly be a brutal and very expensive legal battle.
Sonos was once the leader for smart home speakers though in recent years the market has been swamped by the three big tech giants – Apple, Amazon, and Google – and their own flavor of cheaper smart speakers. The latter two companies are knowingly infringing its many patents, Sonos claims.
“Google is an important partner with whom we have collaborated successfully for years, including bringing the Google Assistant to the Sonos platform last year," Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told The Register in a statement on Tuesday. "However, Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology in creating its audio products.
"Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution. We’re left with no choice but to litigate in the interest of protecting our inventions, our customers, and the spirit of innovation that’s defined Sonos from the beginning.”
Spence told the New York Times it is suing only Google – as opposed to both Google and Amazon – because it wants to focus its resources. It also has a stronger case against Google, given that it worked closely with ad-slinging giant back in 2013 to tightly integrate Google Play with its products: a move that Sonos now calls “naive.”
According to Sonos, it has repeatedly warned Google and Amazon that they are infringing its patents but neither company has agreed to license its technology. It’s not entirely clear what finally sparked Sonos to sue, but the fact that both companies are now outselling Sonos in the smart speaker market will be a big part of it.