Speaker manufacturer Sonos has reportedly sued tech giant Google over the alleged theft of smart speaker technology. According to Sonos CEO Patrick Spence, “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.”
The New York Times reports that speaker manufacturer Sonos is suing tech giant Google over the alleged theft of smart speaker tech. Sonos reportedly provided Google with design blueprints to its speakers in 2013 after the two companies reached a deal to have Google’s music service work with Sonos speakers. Now, Sonos executives are alleging in a lawsuit that Google has infringed on five of its patents.
Sonos executives claim that the company’s complaints go far beyond simple patent infringement, alleging that the legal action is a result of years of growing dependence on both Google and Amazon both of which used their leverage against Sonos to put pressure on the company.
Sonos’ speakers are integrated with both Amazon and Google’s virtual assistants, its speakers are advertised on Google and sold via Amazon. Sonos quietly became dissatisfied with its growing reliance on the tech giants, and over the past few months, Sonos Chief Executive Patrick Spence decided the company had to do something about the situation.
Spence said in a statement: “Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology. 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.”
A Google spokesperson told the Times that Google and Sonos had discussed both companies’ intellectual property for years “and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith.” The spokesperson added: “We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously.” An Amazon spokesperson also simply stated: “The Echo family of devices and our multiroom music technology were developed independently by Amazon.”
Sally Hubbard, a former assistant attorney general in New York’s antitrust bureau who now works at Open Markets Institute, discussed the fear that many companies have of retaliation from tech giants stating: “The fear of retaliation is a real fear. Any of these companies could bury them tomorrow. Google could bury them in their search results. Amazon can bury them in their search results. It’s really hard to find any industry where corporations are not dependent on one of the big tech giants.”
Read more at the New York Times here.