The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Thursday determined that Google infringed on audio patents held by Sonos, a domestic developer of audio products. The ruling could impact Google’s device imports, but the company has also already submitted redesigns of the controversial technology.
The patents in question cover technology enabling features such as synchronous volume adjustment across multiple devices.
The finding vindicates Sonos’s claim that Google is in violation of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which prohibits the importation of any articles that infringe on a US patent or copyright. The same Act gives the USITC authority to make determinations of infringement.
For the USITC to uphold the claim of infringement, Sonos had to prove that Google’s product was both technologically similar to the proprietary designs and that there had been significant investment by Sonos in those proprietary designs.
Finding both of these requirements satisfied, the USITC has ordered a halt to the importation of products containing those features and issued a cease and desist order against Google. The USITC also imposed a financial penalty against the company.