Sonos lawsuit seeks ban on Google Home and Pixel device sales in U.S.

Sonos has filed a lawsuit claiming Google stole patents related to how speakers communicate with each other.

Credit: Michael Brown / IDG

Sonos might not have any new products to show off at CES, but it’s taking aim at a competitor in an entirely different way. In a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday, the speaker maker moved to sue Google for infringing on five of its patents, which Sonos said Google “blatantly and knowingly” copied.

As reported by The New York Times, the lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages and a ban on the sale of Google’s smart speakers, Pixel phones, and Pixelbook laptops in the U.S. The complaint stems largely from the use of technology that lets speakers communicate and sync with each other over a wireless network.

According to the suit, Sonos willingly shared its speaker blueprints with Google back in 2013 when the two companies were working together on Google Play Music integration. Sonos says Google used that intellectual property for more than integrating its music service. It says Google Chromecast, Home, and other products use their tech to copy and undercut Sonos own speaker system. In fact, as the Times reports, Sonos says it discovered in 2015 via packet sniffing that the two solutions are identical but declined to take legal action until now.

Sonos says Google has refused to pay licensing fees. Google denies the claims and vows to “defend them vigorously.”

In addition to the five patents outlined in the suit, Sonos says Google infringed on 100 others. It also points a finger at Amazon, but Sonos says it couldn’t afford to sue both companies at the same time.

Barring a settlement, the court battle is sure to be a lengthy one that will reveal intimate details behind the two companies’ partnership. For example, the Times notes that Google demands that Assistant not work alongside any other assistant on Sonos speakers, which is why users need to select a default assistant during setup.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Sonos

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?