Google can once again manage a multiroom for your connected speakers that is worthy of the name – Frandroid

Google has won its legal battle with Sonos, restoring essential functionality for managing its multiroom speakers.

The Google Nest Audio // Source: Google

Google and Sonos have been fighting over Sonos patents for years. A procedure that led the Mountain View company to remove one of its multiroom functions. In January 2022, after Sonos won a lawsuit in the first instance, Google was forced to remove the functions related to the simultaneous management of multiple speakers within its Google Home application.

As of January 2022, users will no longer be able to collectively control the volume of a group of speakers compatible with Google Cast Audio functionality, regardless of whether they are Google or Nest speakers or those from other manufacturers. In order to comply with legal decisions, Google also prevented the integration of a device into multiple speaker groups.

However, on Friday October 6th, Google won its case in an American federal court, the Northern District Court of California. With this ruling, several Sonos patents that were at the center of the legal conflict between Sonos and Google were declared inadmissible. This suggests that these patents were applications separate from those developed individually by Google:

This is not about an inventor leading the industry to something new. It’s about the question of whether an industry leads to something new and only then does an inventor come forward and say that he had the idea first.

Features that come back for users

Specifically, according to the American judiciary, Sonos acted like a simple patent troll, a company that wanted to enforce previous patents only with the aim of winning in court, without proving a causal connection between its own innovations and the developments of its competitors. For the American court, the fact that Sonos waited 13 years to assert its own patents also showed that the company’s main aim was to slow down Google’s development.

As the American site The Verge reports, Google responded by welcoming the court decision. In particular, the Mountain View company immediately announced that it would restore the functions that had been deleted for more than a year and a half. In a blog post, Google explains that “devices can be linked to multiple speaker groups and errors will no longer occur when trying to add a device to other groups.” This feature has since been restored to the Google Home app on Android and should be back soon be available in the iOS version.