Google has been ordered to pay Sonos $32.5 million for infringing the company’s smart speaker patent. A jury verdict delivered in a San Francisco courtroom on Friday found that Google’s smart speakers and media players infringed one of the Sonos patents in question.
Photo: United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said in a statement to Google the edge. “Out of the six patents Sonos originally confirmed, only one was found to be infringed, and the rest were dismissed as invalid or non-infringing. We have always developed technology independently and competed to the advantage of our ideas. We are studying our next steps.”
However, Sonos didn’t emerge from the case entirely victorious, as the jury decided that the Google Home app didn’t infringe a separate patent filed by Sonos. The judge also asked the jurors to “ignore a $90 million damages estimate from a Sonos expert witness, saying he had determined some of the evidence presented was inadmissible.” Law360 reports.
The decision would be seen as an embarrassing defeat for Google, but both companies drew sharp criticism from Judge William Alsop, who has presided over many of the tech companies’ courtroom battles. Al-Sob expressed his frustration that this case had come to trial in the first place and that the two sides had not been able to resolve it. He said it was “a symbol of the worst patent disputes”. He also referred to the technical jargon surrounding the disputed patents, at one point checking on jurors to make sure they weren’t asleep, according to Law360.
Update May 26th, 5:30 PM ET: Updated to add a statement from a Google spokesperson.