Google gets on the nut of Sonos – can limit the Nest speakers

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has delivered its final verdict in the lawsuit between Sonos and Google, reports Ars Technica.

The court goes completely on Sonos’ line and convicts Google of patent infringement. Google’s smart speakers have used technology from five patents owned by Sonos without a license, and several products would have been banned from importing into the United States – if Google had not already started removing the features in question.

Google has already started rolling out software updates that completely remove certain features or use other technologies to achieve the same result in a way that circumvents the patented methods.

The biggest change for the user seems to be that it is no longer possible to change the volume of all the included speakers in a group of speakers at the same time, neither via the Google Assistant, volume controls or the volume buttons on the mobile.

Other changes are that some speakers will only work in speaker groups if their manufacturers send out firmware updates, and some users will need to get a tool app to add and update speakers.

Sonos says it’s still not happy because it hopes Google will pay “reasonable royalties” for the technologies in the patents instead of “leaving users in the lurch”.