Google sues Sonos right back over voice assistant technology

Google is suing Sonos over voice assistant technology in an ongoing legal tit for tat.

The internet giant is suing the multi-room audio specialist over alleged patent infringement after Sonos launched its own voice assistant earlier in the year. Sonos Voice Control rolled out as a third smart assistant option dedicated to speaker control and music playback, complete with a familiar “Hey Sonos” trigger command.

Google has seen this is an opportunity to hit back in the courts after Sonos allegedly “started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers”.

Back in early 2020 it emerged that Sonos was taking legal action again Google in two US federal courts over an alleged infringement on five Sonos patents, all relating to the company’s multi-room technology. Sonos claimed at the time that “the Google Home was recognised as a direct attack on Sonos.”

The US International Trade Commission ruled in favour of Sonos, prompting Google to effectively downgrade its smart speakers. Back in January, Google announced that Nest speaker users were no longer able to control the master volume of grouped speakers around the home.

Google hit back with its own claims that Sonos was using its software and audio processing technology without paying a license fee. Now Google is launching another attack with claims that Sonos is infringing on seven of its voice assistant patents.

As CNET reports, Google is pointing to the fact that prior to these legal difficulties, it had been “providing its Google Assistant software to Sonos for many years”. This apparently extended to the search giant working with Sonos engineers on the “implementation of voice recognition and voice-activated device controls in Sonos’ products.”

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