Google faces a ban on some Pixel phones and Nest smart home devices as it loses a patent-infringement case to Sonos –

January 10, 2022 by No Comments

Sonos wins its legal case against Google. (Source: Sonos)

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Google has infringed on multiple patents held by the audio company Sonos with features baked into some of its Nest-brand smart speakers, as well as into some older Pixel-series devices. The Mountain View giant is now obliged to make some potentially major UI and UX changes to avoid an import ban on those products.

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Sonos filed a claim with the US ITC in February 2020, alleging that Google had infringed on 5 of its patents pertaining to the ability to control its smart speaker line-up of the time using a smartphone’s hardware volume buttons. The rest of the IP apparently describes the ability to sync multiple devices over the same network, and the set-up of a device that can control playback for use on a given network

Now, the decision in its favor has been ratified by a judge, meaning the defendant needs to make changes to the products involved or possibly have them banned from the market. According to Sonos, these devices include phones of the Pixel 3 and 4 series; the Nest Hub; the Nest Mini; some Chromecast TV sticks and the Pixelbook Go laptop.

Some of these, particularly the smart home products, are Google’s most successful hardware products in the US market. The court ruling means that the OEM must remove, or otherwise work around, the features found to copy those of Sonos too closely.

The Mountain View giant has reportedly already started to do so with Chromecasts, for example, which had their ability to change volume levels in response to a user’s smartphone buttons with the upgrade to Android 12, then re-instated in a different manner. Therefore, Google appears confident that it can complete all the required changes by the 60-day deadline imposed by the ITC.

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Deirdre O’Donnell – Senior Tech Writer – 4667 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018

I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.



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