Sonos is suing Google in two federal court systems in the U.S.: the Federal District Court in Los Angeles and the United States International Trade Commission, which has the power to block the import of goods it deems to violate patents. Sonos is seeking to ban Google's smartphones, laptops, and smart speakers from being sold in the United States, as well as unspecified financial damages. Sonos also alleges that Amazon has similarly infringed upon its technology, with executives telling the Times that they chose to only sue Google as they "couldn't risk battling two tech giants in court at once". However, Google appeared not to have had much of a response although it claims Sonos violated some of its patents as well.
Sonos said that years ago, when they were working with Google to get Google Play Music as a music option within Sonos, they foolishly showed Google the blueprint to their technology.
According to Bloomberg Law, Sonos views products like the Google Home Max as a "Sonos clone", and believe Google infringes on patents for adjusting volume levels for devices in different rooms, synchronizing audio among different devices, and more. Sonos claims that Google infringed five of its patents, including one that lets wireless speakers sync with and communicate with each other.
Sonos bought the Google devices and used a technique called packet sniffing that monitored how the speakers were communicating.
Google isn't the only company that Sonos has a gripe with. However, things fell apart when Google released the Chromecast Audio, Pixel smartphones, and the Google Home line of smart speakers. "We're left with no choice but to litigate". Google denies the claims and vows to "defend them vigorously". Sonos executives said they found Amazon's Echo speakers had also copied Sonos technology.
Sonos is also feeling the pinch of both Amazon and Google undercutting the price of Sonos' speakers.