If you haven’t noticed the news yet, technology giant Google hours ago lost almost exactly a year-long dispute with Sonos, which involved a total of five different patents covering in particular use of speakers and signal transmissions between smart devices in general. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that all five allegations have been justified. While Google may still rely on some of its services and products, it will (and in some cases already have) a verdict direct impacts. So what’s going on and yet?
ITC in its decision in the first place banned Google from importing all products into the U.S.which misappropriate incriminated patents. These include Pixel phones, Nest and Home speakers, or Chromecasts. All these devices are manufactured or assembled in China, so they are directly affected by the ban. This is a substantial part of the company’s “smart” hardware portfolio. The ban is about to begin pay 60 days after the decision, ie in the first half of March.
Several things can “save” Google in this dispute. It is the first in terms of meaning and chronology President Biden’s office. The head of the USA has the right to veto the decision and it is not yet clear whether he will do so. If this does not happen and the judgment remains unchanged, the company must resort to other solutions. This is, for example, a change in the operation of devices through software updates, which brings us to the answer to the question “How will it affect ordinary customers and users?”.
While the ban on the import of products and the possible problem of filling the market with their modified variants only applies to the USA, the restrictions on the operation of some devices are already felt by users of devices already purchased around the world. An example is the already truncated option control the volume of the speaker group (Speaker Group) at once through Nest Hub, Google Home or Assistant. As one of the problematic features, Google had to turn it off. The same goes for ocontrol the volume of smart devices through the hardware buttons of the mobile phone, which some Android users have noticed before 12.
If intercession with the president fails and not all products can be modified backwards or before entering the market, they can help Google two more things. And both are currently more of a fantasy. For example, it would solve the situation if Google licensed the patented solutions and started using them legally. From historical experience, however, it can be judged that something like this is difficult to happen. Slightly more likely is the “eye for an eye” compensation that could occur due to another court.
On the other hand, following the dispute, Google also sued Sonos for a few patents, so if the second case ended victory of the other side, there could theoretically be some agreement on the mutual erasure of offenses. However, this would have to be resolved within sixty days to prevent Google from running into its shoes. At this point, it’s true: If you have a Pixel phone, smart speakers, or Chromecast from Google and your device she has lost some handy features in recent days or hours, most likely this is not a mistake, but a necessary intervention. And others are likely to follow.
What do you guess about the next course of this case?