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Google Sues Sonos Over Voice Control Technology

The lawsuits are the latest jab in a long-running legal battle between the two companies.

Google logo going across a smartphone screen
Google alleges Sonos violated several patents.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Google is suing speaker-maker Sonos over alleged patent infringement. In two lawsuits filed Monday in US District Court in California, Google alleges that Sonos' latest voice-assistant technology violates seven patents related to Google Assistant. 

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said Sonos has "started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers." As a result, he said, the lawsuits have been filed to "defend our technology and challenge Sonos' clear, continued infringement of our patents."

Sonos launched its own voice assistant in June, allowing customers to control their speakers using voice commands starting with the phrase "Hey Sonos."

Google said in the lawsuits that it has made its technologies available to users across the globe, "even providing its Google Assistant software to Sonos for many years." The suits also said Google has for years worked with Sonos engineers on the "implementation of voice recognition and voice-activated device controls in Sonos' products."

Google requests an unspecified amount of monetary damages and an injunction blocking Sonos' alleged infringement. 

The lawsuits come amid a long legal battle between the two companies, which were once partners. Last year, the US International Trade Commission ruled that Google infringed on five patents owned by Sonos. The win for Sonos led Google to change the way its smart speakers are set up and controlled

"Google previously sued us all over the world and Sonos has prevailed in every decided case," Eddie Lazarus, Sonos' chief legal officer, told CNET, adding that the new lawsuits "are an intimidation tactic designed to retaliate against Sonos for speaking out against Google's monopolistic practices," which "will not succeed."