In a new development of the ongoing patent dispute between Google and Sonos, a California federal judge has thrown out the $32.5 million USD (roughly $44.2 million CAD) ruling against the former.
Federal Judge William Alsup has concluded that Sonos’ multi-room smart speaker patents are unenforceable in the case, agreeing with Google that the smart audio company tried to tie its newer patents with older ones dating back to 2006.
“This was not a case of an inventor leading the industry to something new. This was a case of the industry leading with something new and, only then, an inventor coming out of the woodwork to say that he had come up with the idea first,” says U.S. District Judge Alsup.
The patents in question, which Sonos argues were infringed on by Google, previously resulted in a jury verdict in Sonos’ favour back in May.
Judge Alsup went on to grill Sonos, saying “it is wrong that our patent system was used in this way. With its constitutional underpinnings, this system is intended to promote and protect innovation. Here, by contrast, it was used to punish an innovator and to enrich a pretender by delay and sleight of hand. It has taken a full trial to learn this sad fact, but, at long last, a measure of justice is done.”
While the judge certainly didn’t mince words in his disapproval of Sonos’s use of the legal system, the smart speaker company plans on appealing the decision.
A Sonos spokesperson told Reuters that the decision is “wrong on both the facts and law,” indicating that the company doesn’t plan on backing down from the fight anytime soon.