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Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Faces Mixed Court Decision In Smart Speaker Patent Dispute

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The tech giant, Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) shares dropped around 1.5% in pre trading session on Friday as A San Francisco federal court issued a mixed decision about Google on Thursday in a patent dispute involving wireless audio technology brought by Sonos Inc. The decision limited Sonos’ claims while failing to invalidate all of the patents before a trial.

The case, which has a trial date of May 8, is a part of an acrimonious intellectual property dispute between the former business partners about their smart speakers that also involves legal actions in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) granted Sonos a limited import restriction on a few Google products last year, but Google has sued Sonos for patent infringement there as well as in California.

In a statement, José Castaeda, a spokesman for Google, stated that the business was pleased with the decision to throw out one of Sonos’ patents and that the music system manufacturer “misrepresented our partnership and mischaracterized our technology.”

Sonos looks forward to “once again demonstrating Google’s widespread infringement” at trial, a representative for the firm said in a statement.

After collaborating with Google to include its streaming music service into the Sonos ecosystem, Sonos claimed that Google had stolen its technology to use in items like Chromecast Audio and Google Home. Google has refuted the claim that Sonos stole its technology as a result of their partnership.

In the San Francisco court lawsuit, Sonos charged Google for violating four patents covering multi-room wireless speaker technology. Prior to that, U.S. District Judge William Alsup declared one of the patents invalid and found Google to have violated another.

Despite finding a second Sonos patent to be invalid on Thursday, Alsup denied Google’s plea to revoke the other two patents prior to the trial. The judge further reduced the possible damages for Sonos by concluding that Google did not intentionally violate one of the remaining patents.

Alsup also stated that he will decide whether Google’s redesigned speakers violate Sonos’ patents in a separate bench trial following the jury trial.

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