U.S. trade body probes allegations Sonos violated Google patents

A woman passes the logo from the web search engine provider Google during the digital society festival ‘re:publica’, at the Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

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WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it would probe allegations brought by Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google against Sonos (SONO.O) claiming the home-audio company infringed on Google patents by importing certain audio components.

The agency did not say what specific products were allegedly imported in potential violation of U.S. trade law. It said it had not yet made any decision on the merits of the case.

The new complaints add to an ongoing patent fight between the former partners over audio and smart-speaker technology, including lawsuits in California, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Sonos won an import ban on some Google devices from the trade commission in January. Last month, Google filed lawsuits in federal court in California saying Sonos’ new voice-assistant technology violates several Google patents. Sonos has called those lawsuits an “intimidation tactic.”

The trade commission said it would set a date for completing its inquiry into Google’s latest allegations within 45 days, and would schedule an evidentiary hearing.

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Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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