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US trade panel opens patent probe into Google speakers after Sonos complaint

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO: The US Worldwide Commerce Fee stated on Feb 6 it was launching a patent investigation into sure audio gamers and controllers offered by Alphabet Inc’s Google primarily based on a grievance by rival sensible speaker maker Sonos Inc.

The ITC obtained a grievance from Sonos final month alleging that the import of sure audio gamers and controllers and their elements infringe on its patents.

Sonos on the time additionally filed a patent infringement lawsuit in opposition to Google in US District Court docket in Los Angeles and testified to a Home of Representatives antitrust subcommittee about its frustrations with Google.

“Sonos has made deceptive statements about our historical past of working collectively. Our expertise and units had been designed independently. We deny their claims vigorously, and will probably be defending in opposition to them,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda stated in an announcement on Feb 6.

The ITC has in some circumstances issued orders banning merchandise from US entry on the grounds they infringe US patents. The specter of such bans, often called exclusion orders, will be leverage in settlement discussions.

However corporations topic to the bans are sometimes capable of maintain importing merchandise by redesigning them to keep away from utilizing patented expertise.

Sonos spokeswoman Erin Pategas stated the corporate was happy that the ITC will examine “all of our claims asserting Google blatantly infringed our mental property. We’ll absolutely cooperate all through the period of the investigation and really feel assured in regards to the deserves of our case.”

The maker of premium residence speaker units has stated Google copied its expertise for connecting collectively a number of audio system throughout partnership discussions. Some Sonos audio system embrace voice assistant expertise from Google and Amazon.com Inc.

Google individually sells its personal Nest sensible audio system, a lot of that are extra inexpensive than Sonos audio system and likewise embrace Google Assistant expertise and multi-device connection capabilities.

The search large has disputed Sonos’ infringement claims.

Sonos on Feb 5 reported fourth-quarter income that beat expectations.

Google on Feb three stated its {hardware} gross sales declined within the fourth quarter from a yr in the past. – Reuters

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