Google Infringed Five Sonos Patents, US Commerce Judge Finds.
A US trade judge ruled Friday that Alphabet’s Google infringed five patents belonging to Sonos that refer to smart speakers and related technology, a decision that could lead to an import ban.
The brief ruling by Charles Bullock, the chief administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission, failed to explain why Google’s sale of the products violated a 1930 federal tariff law, commonly known as Smoot. -Hawley, designed to prevent unfair competition.
Sonos has tried to stop Google from importing smart home speakers, Pixel phones, and other products from China.
Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sonos said it was satisfied with the preliminary ruling, which it said “confirmed Google’s blatant infringement” and advanced its efforts to defend its technology against alleged misappropriation by larger rivals.
Shares of Sonos were up 11.4 percent in after-hours trading.
Friday’s ruling is subject to review by the full ITC, scheduled for December 13, according to the commission’s website.
The ITC case is part of a series of litigation between the two companies, including cases in California, Texas, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, according to regulatory documents.
Google has said that Sonos repeatedly sought help during their years of partnership, eventually integrating Sonos products into its Play Music service and Google Assistant software.
Some Sonos speakers have used voice assist technology from Google and Amazon.com. Google’s Nest smart speakers include Google Assistant technology.
Sonos is based in Santa Barbara, California, and Alphabet, in Mountain View, California.