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Google hit with import ban for infringing on Sonos patents

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Google hit with import ban for infringing on Sonos patents
A handheld wireless Sonos speaker. The International Trade Commission has blocked Google from importing several products that infringe on Sonos's intellectual property. Photo courtesy of Sonos

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A trade court ruled on Thursday that Google infringed on five audio technology patents held by manufacturer Sonos, ending a two-year investigation into the intellectual property dispute.

Google is not allowed to import products that violate Sonos's intellectual property into the United States, the United States International Trade Commission stated.

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Sonos asked the ITC to block imports of Google products that infringe on its patents.

These include Google Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, and Chromecast streaming video services -- products made in China and imported to the U.S.

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The ban goes into effect in 60 days, during which the case will be subjected to presidential review.

A commission judge's preliminary findings in August said that Google should be subjected to the import ban. The decision was upheld by the commission on Thursday's final ruling.

According to the commission, Google violated the Tariff Act of 1930 and was handed a cease-and-desist order.

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"We appreciate that the I.T.C. has definitively validated the five Sonos patents at issue in this case and ruled unequivocally that Google infringes all five," Eddie Lazarus, chief legal officer at Sonos, said in a statement.

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"That is an across-the-board win that is surpassingly rare in patent cases," Lazarus said.

Google spokesman Jose Castenada said that the company will continue to defend itself against "frivolous" claims about intellectual property.

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He added that Google would work to ensure that there are no disruptions in the selling, importing and usage of the products. According to the company, a ruling in August approved alternative product designs that work around at least two patents.

The ruling will likely have little impact on Google since newer products have newer technology.

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