The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain audio players and controllers sold by Google LLC based on a complaint by rival smart speaker maker Sonos Inc.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Sonos, Inc. on January 7, 2020. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain audio players and controllers, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe patents asserted by the complainant. The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.
Some Sonos speakers can be used to access Google Assistant and Amazon.com Echo audio assistance services. The complaint names both Google and Alphabet as respondents in the case, but not Amazon.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1191), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the ITC.