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Google to pay $32.5M as jury sides with Sonos on patent lawsuit

Sonos Roam

Google has to pay Sonos $32.5 million after a jury sided with the smart speaker producer over claims of patent infringement.

On Friday, a jury reached a verdict on a lawsuit between Google and Sonos involving the alleged violation of patents. The San Francisco court battle resulted in a decision leaning towards Sonos, with Google needing to pay out millions.

The lawsuit, which started with Sonos suing Google in early 2020, had the speaker producer claim Google infringed on its patents for multi-room audio in its own speaker lineup and other devices, reports Law360

The verdict form provided to the jury covers two patents, with the first being the "885 patent" covering simultaneous multi-room audio. For that patent, Google failed to clearly prove the patent was invalid, but at the same time Sonos was able to show Google infringed claim 1 of that patent.

Previously, courts have ruled against Google and determined its older products had infringed. In this particular instance, it was to determine if newer products since that ruling were infringing.

On a second patent, the "966" which deals with using smartphones to control other devices, the jury again insisted that Google wasn't able to prove invalidity for five patent claims. However, Sonos was also not able to successfully prove Google violated those same claims.

For damages, the jury deemed a royalty of $2.30 per unit to be paid by Google to Sonos. At 14 million units, the total sum due to be paid is $32,507,183.40.

Following the lawsuit, Google insisted it was a "narrow dispute about some very specific features that are not commonly used," and focused on there only being one infringing patent. "We have always developed technology independently and competed on the merit of our ideas. We are considering our next steps."

Sonos was more celebratory in its post-court statement, thanking the jury for its time and diligence and in "recognizing the value of Sonos's invention of zone scenes." The verdict "re-affirms that Google is a serial infringer of our patent portfolio," Sonos continued.

"In all, we believe Google infringes more than 200 Sonos patents, and today's damages award, based on one important piece of our portfolio, demonstrates the exceptional value of our intellectual property" the statement followed. "Our goal remains for Google to pay us a fair royalty for the Sonos inventions it has appropriated."

Previously in 2022, the U.S. ITC upheld a ruling that Google had infringed on five Sonos technology patents.