The International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it has found Google to be in violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The ITC has issued Google a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order, to stop manufacturing and shipping products made overseas and imported into the states that infringe on audio equipment manufacturers’ Sonos’ patents.
The ITC has announced that certain Google products infringe one or more claims of US Patent Nos 9,195,258; 10,209,953; 9,219,959; 8,588,949; and 10,439,896. All of the five patents listed here belong to Sonos. The products that infringe on the patents include Nest speakers, Chromecast devices, and Pixel smartphones.
All of the infringing devices will be banned to enter the US in 60 days depending on the result of a presidential review. While the ITC ruling could ban Pixel smartphones and other Google devices in the US, President Biden could also veto the ruling. Google could also escape the ban, by making some changes to its software.
To recall, Sonos back in 2020, sued Google stating that Google took advantage of its partnership with the company to get hold of and use its intellectual property on Google products. At the time, Google denied the claims and countersued Sonos for infringing on its patents.
The patents infringed by Google according to Sonos, allows users to easily set up a that controls home audio systems, the pairing of multiple speakers, the independent volume control of different speakers, and the stereo pairing of speakers.
In a statement to Android Central a Sonos spokesperson stated, “There is a possibility that Google will be able to degrade or eliminate product features in a way that circumvents the importation ban that the ITC has imposed. But while Google may sacrifice consumer experience in an attempt to circumvent this importation ban, its products will still infringe many dozens of Sonos patents, its wrongdoing will persist, and the damages owed Sonos will continue to accrue. Alternatively, Google can —as other companies have already done —pay a fair royalty for the technologies it has misappropriated.”
“While we disagree with today’s decision, we will ensure our shared customers have the best experience using our products and do not experience any disruption. We will seek further review and continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous claims about our partnership and intellectual property,” Google spokesperson José Castañeda told Android Central.
The big news is that the Pixel smartphones are also a part of the limited exclusion order. This means that the latest Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones could soon be made unavailable in the US due to this patent war.
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