`IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
`FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
`JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
`COMPLAINT FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT
`Plaintiff Sonos, Inc. (“Sonos” or “Plaintiff”) hereby asserts claims for infringement of
`United States Patent Nos. 9,967,615; 10,779,033; 9,344,206; 10,469,966; and 9,219,460 (the
`“patents-in-suit”; attached hereto as Exhibits 1-5 respectively) against Defendant Google LLC
`(“Google” or “Defendant”), and alleges as follows:
`Sonos is an American success story. It was founded in 2002 in Santa Barbara,
`California by a handful of engineers and entrepreneurs with a vision to invent the world’s first
`wireless, whole-home audio system. At the time, popular audio systems were dependent on a
`centralized receiver hard-wired to each individual passive speaker throughout a home. Further,
`most homes with Internet access had dial-up connections, the iPhone was still five years away,
`and there were no streaming music services. The technological barriers confronting Sonos were
`To deliver on its vision, the Sonos team completely reimagined the in-home music
`system as a decentralized network of smart playback devices, and it developed a platform that
`could seamlessly and wirelessly distribute audio room by room or throughout the home at the
`user’s discretion. Sonos created a “choose what to play, where to play it, and how loud” wireless
`audio system that could not only perform without lag (e.g. buffering, or network interruptions),
`but that was also so simple and intuitive that customers would make it part of their daily lives.
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`Commercial success did not come easy for Sonos as its vision was in many ways
`ahead of its time. But year by year, consumers – and the entire industry – came to appreciate that
`wireless multi-room audio devices and systems could not only work, but could become an essential
`part of the listening experience. Success required staying true to Sonos’s disruptive vision,
`continuing to innovate while adjacent industries caught up and customers became more and more
`enamored with the idea of Sonos as they had the chance to encounter and use its products. Once
`Sonos had taken all the risks and placed enormous bets on research and development, the “first
`followers” began to copy Sonos’s innovations.
`To this day, Sonos remains focused on innovations that further enhance the
`listening experience. Sonos invests heavily in research and development and, as a result,
`frequently invents new systems with new technologies, enhanced functionality, improved sound
`quality, and an enriched user experience.
`As a result, Sonos has become one of the world’s leading providers of innovative
`audio products. In recognition of its wide-ranging innovations, the U.S. Patent & Trademark
`Office has granted or allowed Sonos more than 940 U.S. patents, including the patents-in-suit, with
`hundreds more patents in other countries. The innovations captured by these patents cover many
`important aspects of wireless multi-room audio devices/systems, including, for example, how to
`manage and control groups of playback devices, how to facilitate seamless control and transfer of
`audio playback among devices, and how to output amazing sound quality.
`The industry has recognized the importance of Sonos’s patents. For example,
`Sonos earned a spot on the IPO list of “Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents” and the
`IEEE recognized Sonos as having one of “[t]he technology world’s most valuable patent
`portfolios.” See Exs. 6 and 7.
`Sonos launched its first commercial products in 2005 and has since released a wide
`variety of critically acclaimed, patented, wireless multi-room audio products, including, for
`example, the Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 (Gen 1 and Gen 2), One (Gen 1 and Gen 2), One SL, Move,
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`Playbar, Playbase, Beam, Sub, Connect, Port, Connect:Amp, Amp, Five, and Arc. See, e.g.,
`Ex. 8. Sonos’s products can be set up and controlled by the Sonos app. Id.
`Sonos’s efforts have made it incredibly popular with its customers. Sonos estimates
`that in fiscal year 2019, Sonos’s customers listened to 7.7 billion hours of audio content using its
`products. And, as of September, 2019, almost two thirds of Sonos households had purchased and
`installed more than one Sonos product.
`Sonos’s record of innovation has made it the undisputed leader in what has come
`to be called the “multiroom audio” field. See, e.g., Ex. 9 (2018 Digital Trends: “Sonos is the king
`of multiroom audio….”); Ex. 10 (2019 What Hi-Fi: “[N]o multi-room offering is as complete or
`as pleasurable to live with as Sonos.”).
`Sonos has already sued Google for infringing patents on its first group of inventions
`involving the set-up, control, playback, and synchronization of wireless playback devices. This
`case involves a second group of inventions which, as described more extensively below, tackle the
`novel technological challenges of how to stream music from a cloud-based service, how to create,
`manage, and invoke “zone scenes” to configure how multiple playback devices work together,
`and how to dynamically adjust the equalization of a playback device based on the environment in
`which the playback device is operating.
`GOOGLE BEGINS INFRINGING
`Almost a decade after Sonos created the smart-speaker market, Google entered the
`space. Initially, Google sought to work with Sonos and, through those efforts, gained access to
`Sonos’s engineers, products, and technology. All too quickly, however, Google shifted focus and
`began to develop and sell products that copied Sonos’s technology and infringed Sonos’s patents.
`Part of what makes Sonos so successful is that, through its application, Sonos is
`compatible with many different third-party music streaming services. When Google publicly
`launched its own streaming music service – Google Play Music – in late 2011, Sonos worked with
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 4 of 88
`Google to integrate the Google Play Music service into the Sonos ecosystem. As a result, Google
`Play Music launched on the Sonos platform in 2014. See, e.g., Ex. 11.
`This should have benefited everyone: Sonos’s customers gained access to another
`streaming service and Google Play Music users gained access to Sonos’s devices. But as the press
`recognized at the time, Sonos’s integration work with Google was especially “deep” and therefore
`gave Google a wide aperture through which to view Sonos’s proprietary technology. Id. (2014
`Wired: “This is the first time this sort of deep integration has happened between a third party
`music service and Sonos.”). The copying soon followed.
`Just eighteen months later, in 2015, Google began willfully infringing Sonos’s
`patents. On information and belief, Google used the knowledge it had gleaned from Sonos to
`build and launch its first wireless multi-room audio product – Chromecast Audio.
`Google’s Chromecast Audio began what has turned into Google’s relentless effort
`to copy Sonos and use Sonos’s patented technology. For example, although Google’s original
`Chromecast Audio did not yet include Sonos’s patented multi-room audio functionality, even
`when it was launched Google was working to add that Sonos-patented feature. See Ex. 12 (2015
`The Guardian: “Google is also working on multi-room audio streaming using the Chromecast
`Audio, but it will not support the popular feature out of the box.”). And, when Google added the
`infringing feature, the press immediately noted how this “major feature update” made Google’s
`product even more “like the ones made by Sonos:”
`Google’s recently-launched Chromecast Audio adapter is getting a major feature
`update this week: Consumers will now be able to group multiple Chromecast audio
`adapters to stream their favorite music simultaneously in more than one room,
`similar to the multi-room support available for internet-connected loudspeakers like
`the ones made by Sonos.
`Ex. 13 (2015 Variety article entitled “Google’s Chromecast Audio Adapter Gets Multi-Room
`Support Similar to Sonos”); see also Ex. 14 (2015 Pocket-Lint) (“You control your Sonos
`experience with one app. Well, thanks to a new software rollout, Chromecast Audio can pretty
`much do the same thing.”).
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 5 of 88
`This has become a consistent pattern. Time and again, Google has added features
`to its products that first appeared in Sonos’s products and which make use of Sonos’s patented
`GOOGLE’S INFRINGEMENT ACCELERATES
`Since 2015, Google’s misappropriation of Sonos’s patented technology has
`proliferated. Google has expanded its wireless multi-room audio system to more than a dozen
`infringing products, including the Google Home Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max, and
`Pixel phones, tablets, and laptops. And Google has persisted in infringing even though Sonos has
`warned Google of its infringement on at least four separate occasions dating back to 2016.
`For example, in 2016 (a year after Google launched the Chromecast Audio
`wireless adapter), Google released the Google Home multi-room audio player (which was
`controlled by Google’s rebranded multi-room controller app – the Google Home app). Unlike the
`Chromecast Audio, the Google Home added an internal speaker driver making it an “all-in-one”
`audio player akin to Sonos’s prior Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 products.
`Sonos raised the issue of infringement as to these products with Google as early as
`August 2016. Sonos hoped that Google would respect Sonos’s intellectual property and the
`extensive work Sonos had put into inventing and developing its products. But Google did no such
`In October 2016, Sonos put Google on notice of infringement of 28 Sonos patents,
`including asserted United States Patent No. 9,344,206. Google, however, did not stop infringing.
`Instead, it doubled down and introduced new infringing products, making use of even more
`patented technology from Sonos.
`For example, in 2017, eight years after Sonos introduced its first all-in-one audio
`player – the Play:5 – Google released its first all-in-one audio players – the Google Home Max
`and the Google Home Mini. Google’s Home Max in particular was seen as a “Sonos Clone” and
`a “not-so-subtle copy of the [Sonos] Play:5 speaker….” Ex. 15. As explained by Gizmodo, “[i]t’s
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`also hard not to see the [Google Home Max] device as something of a jab at Sonos.” Id.; see also,
`e.g., Ex. 16 (2017 Android Central: “You can’t help but look at Google Home Max… and come
`to the conclusion that Google is sticking its nose where Sonos has been for years.”).
`Therefore, in January 2018, and then again in July 2018, Sonos put Google on
`notice that it was infringing even more Sonos patents, including asserted United States Patent No.
`9,219,460. Then again, in February 2019, Sonos put Google on notice of infringement of 100
`Sonos patents, including asserted United States Patent No. 9,967,615.
`Nothing Sonos did, however, deterred Google from expanding its infringement.
`Google’s infringing product line now includes at least the Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra,
`Chromecast Audio, Chromecast with Google TV, Home Mini, Nest Mini, Home, Home Max,
`Home Hub, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio, and Nest Wifi Point (individually or
`collectively, “Google Audio Player(s)”), all of which can be controlled by, for example, the
`YouTube Music app, the Google Play Music app, the YouTube app, and the Google Home app
`(individually or collectively, “Google App(s)”). See, e.g., Exs. 17-27.
`In addition to providing the Google Apps for controlling the Google Audio
`Players, Google also offers various infringing hardware controllers that are pre-installed with the
`Google Play Music app, YouTube app, and/or YouTube Music app (and capable of downloading
`and executing the Google Apps that are not pre-installed). These infringing hardware controllers
`include, for example, Google’s “Pixel” phones, tablets, and laptops (e.g., the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL,
`Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and Pixel 4a phones, the Pixel Slate tablet, and the
`Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go laptops) (individually or collectively, “Google Pixel Device(s)”).
`See, e.g., Exs. 28-32.
`Herein, “Google Wireless Audio System” refers to one or more Google Audio
`Players, one or more Google Pixel Devices, and/or one or more Google Apps.
`In order to hold Google accountable for its willful infringement of Sonos’s
`patents, Sonos filed a complaint in January 2020 asking the United States International Trade
`Commission (“ITC”) to institute an investigation into Google’s unlawful importation into and sale
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 7 of 88
`in the United States of infringing products. The ITC instituted an investigation, In re Certain Audio
`Players and Controllers, Components Thereof, and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-
`1191 to determine whether Google’s audio players and controllers infringe five Sonos patents
`directed to fundamental features such as playing music on multiple speakers in synchrony, playing
`music in stereo over two or more players, a controller that can easily setup a player on a wireless
`network, and playback-control features such as controlling both the volume of individual speakers
`and a group of speakers.
`27. While the ITC Investigation has been pending, Google has continued to increase
`its infringement. For example, press reports indicate that Google is introducing new products and
`changes that mean Google is “one step closer to replacing your Sonos system.” Ex. 33; see also
`Ex. 44 (“The new functionality appears to be the most direct challenge to the likes of Sonos, which
`has enjoyed enormous success by creating a series of connected speakers and soundbars that can
`play music simultaneously – or individually.”). The press has similarly noted that Google’s new
`speaker “could be a new rival for the likes of the Sonos One, the best smart speaker you can buy
`in 2020.” Ex. 34; see also Ex. 44 (“Just like Sonos, you can also change the volume on each
`speaker individually from the main interface.”). And press reports indicate that Google has
`expanded its use of Sonos’s stereo pair technology into the new smart-speakers even though
`Google is currently being sued for infringing a Sonos patent on this technology. Exs. 35, 44.
`Google itself has also highlighted the importance of its use of Sonos’s technology.
`For example, Google’ Chris Chan publicly stated that “[c]ontrolling the audio throughout my
`home, no matter who’s listening, has been incredibly helpful” and that “[t]oday, we’re expanding
`that control. You can already manually group Nest devices in order to play the same music on
`various speakers at the same time, and now we’re launching multi-room control so you can
`dynamically group multiple cast-enabled Nest devices (speakers, Smart Displays, Chromecasts)
`in real-time to fill multiple rooms with music.” Ex. 35; see also Ex. 44. Again, Google has
`expanded its use of this technology while it is being sued for infringing Sonos’s patents on this
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`Google’s aggressive and deliberate expansion of its use of Sonos’s patented
`technology has led observers to conclude that “[n]o market is safe from [the] search engine
`monster” and that Google was specifically “offering new products to compete with Sonos in the
`music streaming market.” See Ex. 36.
`GOOGLE’S CONTINUED INFRINGEMENT FORCES THIS SUIT
`In the face of Google’s unrelenting infringement, Sonos has no choice but to bring
`this suit. In this action, Sonos asserts patents that are not at issue in the ITC or the related district
`court action. Sonos is also accusing Google’s Wireless Audio System of infringing different
`patented features than are at issue in either of those actions.
`Sonos’s ITC suit addressed Google’s infringement of Sonos patents covering
`fundamental aspects of wireless, whole-home audio systems. While groundbreaking, those
`patents represent only some of Sonos’s ongoing innovation from its inception to today. Through
`its foresight, substantial investment, and relentless pursuit of excellence, Sonos built on its
`previous success and invented a number of key features consumer have grown to expect and
`demand in streaming music listening.
`For example, as explained more fully below, Sonos’s U.S. Patent Nos. 9,967,615
`and 10,779,033 (the “’615 Patent” and the “’033 Patent,” respectively) cover key aspects of
`Sonos’s inventive approach for streaming music from a cloud-based service to a media playback
`system, including technology for transferring playback responsibility for a cloud-based stream of
`media content from a user’s device, such as a smart phone, to a media playback system that is
`then configured to retrieve and play back the cloud-based media content.
`Sonos was well ahead of the field when it began to develop these inventions in
`2011. At that time, Sonos’s audio system, including its smart-phone app controller, was in a
`category all its own. Moreover, streaming content from cloud-based media services for playback
`by computers – let alone other types of networked devices like smart phones and smart speakers
`– was in its infancy. Nonetheless, at a time years before Google released its first Chromecast
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 9 of 88
`product, Sonos envisioned a novel experience of continuous and intuitive control of a user’s entire
`streaming listening experience, across multiple networked devices, including smart phones and/or
`smart speakers. That vision gave rise to the innovation of technology for enabling seamless
`transition of playback responsibility for cloud-based media content between different networked
`devices, such as a smart phone and a smart speaker. This paradigm is now fundamental across
`the entire streaming industry as user expectations of continuous listening experiences have
`continued to converge with Sonos’s vision.
`Similarly, Sonos’s U.S. Patent Nos. 9,344,206 and 10,469,966 (the “’206 Patent”
`and the “’966 Patent,” respectively) cover some of Sonos’s inventions related to creating,
`managing, and invoking “zone scenes” to configure how multiple players work together. With
`these patents, Sonos once again anticipated what consumers would want and invented a new
`feature for its system. Using the inventions of the ’206 and ’966 Patents, playback devices can
`be grouped together for synchronous playback in an easy and intuitive manner using “zone
`scenes.” Advantageously, such a “zone scene” can be accessed and invoked by multiple devices
`and in various ways (e.g., by voice) even when the particular controller that created the “zone
`scene” is not on the network.
`In addition, Sonos’s U.S. Patent No. 9,219,460 (the “’460 Patent”) covers a Sonos
`invention related to dynamically adjusting the equalization of a playback device based on its
`environment. Naturally, consumers want their speakers to sound great, regardless of the
`environment in which the playback device is operating, but changes in the playback device’s
`listening environment could impact sound quality. For example, a playback device may be
`configured to perform advantageously in a small room, but nonetheless may come to be positioned
`outdoors. When operating outdoors, boosting the bass levels of the playback may result in an
`improved listening experience for some consumers. However, previous technology for setting
`the equalization parameters for a playback device made it very difficult to optimize the playback
`device’s equalization parameters for its listening environment. The ’460 Patent provides
`technology that enables a playback device to adjust its own equalization settings based on one or
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 10 of 88
`more reflection characteristics of an audio signal in order to optimally match the playback
`device’s listening environment.
`Sonos provided a pre-filing copy of this Complaint to Google, thereby providing
`clear pre-suit notice of infringement of the patents-in-suit. Google, however, has never given any
`indication that it is willing to stop infringing, and did not do so in response to receiving a draft of
`On information and belief, Google is unwilling to stop infringing because its
`infringement of Sonos’s patented inventions has paved the way for Google to generate billions of
`dollars in revenue. A December 2018 market report by Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”), for
`example, concluded that Google sold over 40 million Google Home devices in the U.S. and that
`Google generated $3.4 billion in Google Home revenue in 2018 alone. Ex. 37 at pp. 1, 4, 14-15.
`RBC also found that, as of August 2017, Google had sold more than 55 million Chromecast
`devices and that Google generated almost $1 billion in Chromecast revenue in 2018. Id. at pp. 4,
`16, 18. Further, RBC estimated that, in 2018, Google generated $3.4 billion in Pixel device
`revenue. Id. at pp. 4, 8.
`By 2021, RBC estimates that Google will be annually selling over 100 million
`Google Home devices in the U.S. and generating over $8 billion in Google Home revenue. Id. at
`pp. 4, 14-15. In addition, by 2021, RBC estimates that Google will annually generate $2.4 billion
`in Chromecast revenue and nearly $7 billion in Pixel device revenue. Id. at pp. 4, 8, 18.
`The revenue obtained from the sale of Google’s hardware devices vastly
`understates the value to Google of infringing Sonos’s patents. On information and belief, Google
`is intentionally selling the infringing products at a discount and/or as a “loss leader” with the
`expectation that this will allow Google to generate even more revenue in the future – e.g., by
`powering Google’s continued dominance of the market for search advertising. In particular,
`Google’s infringement of Sonos’s patented inventions has helped and/or will help Google
`generate significant revenue from the use of Google’s hardware devices including advertising,
`data collection, and search via the Google Wireless Audio Systems. As the New York Post
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 11 of 88
`explained, “Amazon and Google both discounted their home speakers so deeply over the holidays
`that they likely lost a few dollars per unit … hoping to lock in customers and profit from later
`sales of goods and data about buying habits.” Ex. 38. Similarly, News Without Borders explained
`that companies like Google are using their “smart speaker” devices as “‘loss leader[s]’ to support
`advertising or e-commerce.” Ex. 39.
`On information and belief, Google’s copying of Sonos’s patented inventions has
`also helped and/or will help Google generate significant revenue from driving its users to make
`purchases such as streaming music subscriptions and retail purchases via the Google Wireless
`Audio Systems. For example, an NPR “smart speaker” survey found that 28% of survey
`respondents agreed that “[g]etting [a] Smart Speaker led [them] to pay for a music service
`subscription,” and Google offers two such subscriptions – Google Play Music and YouTube
`Music. Ex. 40 at p. 20. Likewise, the NPR survey also found that 26% of respondents use their
`smart speakers “regularly” to “add [items] to shopping list.” Id. at p. 14; see also, e.g., Ex. 39
`(stating that companies like Google are using their “smart speaker” devices as “‘loss leader[s]’ to
`On information and belief, Google is willfully infringing Sonos’s patents as part
`of Google’s calculated strategy to vacuum up invaluable consumer data from users and, thus,
`further entrench the Google platform among its users and fuel its dominant advertising and search
`Google’s infringement – and its strategy to sell its infringing products at a loss to
`develop alternative revenue streams – has caused significant damage to Sonos. For example, the
`Google Home Mini predatorily implemented Sonos’s valuable patented technology into an all-in-
`one wireless multi-room product that Google sells at a highly subsidized price point or even gives
`away for free. Ex. 41 (“At $49, Google Home Mini works on its own or you can have a few
`around the house, giving you the power of Google anywhere in your home.”); Ex. 39 (“Google
`partnered with Spotify to offer Home Minis as a free promotion for Spotify Premium customers.
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 12 of 88
`Spotify’s premium userbase is nearly 90 million, so if even a fraction of users take the free offer,
`a massive influx of Google smart speakers will enter the market.”).
`Plaintiff Sonos, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business
`at 614 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101. Sonos is the owner of the patents-in-suit.
`Sonos holds all substantial rights, title and interest in and to the Asserted Patents.
`Defendant Google LLC is a Delaware limited liability corporation with its principal
`place of business at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043. Google maintains
`a physical address in this district at 500 West 2nd Street, Austin, Texas, 78701. Google may be
`served with process through its registered agent, the Corporation Service Company, at 211 East
`7th Street, Suite 620, Austin Texas 78701. Google is registered to do business in the State of Texas
`and has been since at least November 17, 2006.
`Google LLC is one of the largest technology companies in the world and conducts
`product development, engineering, sales, and online retail, search, and advertising operations in
`Google LLC directly and/or indirectly develops, designs, manufactures, distributes,
`markets, offers to sell, sells, and/or imports the infringing Google Wireless Audio System at issue
`in this litigation in/into the United States, including in the Western District of Texas, and otherwise
`purposefully directs infringing activities to this District in connection with its Google Wireless
`JURISDICTION AND VENUE
`This action for patent infringement arises under the Patent Laws of the United
`States, 35 U.S.C. § 1 et. seq. This Court has original jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
`This Court has personal jurisdiction over Google because, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
`P. 11(b)(3), Google has: (1) availed itself of the rights and benefits of the laws of the State of
`Texas, (2) transacted, conducted, and/or solicited business and engaged in a persistent course of
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`conduct in the State of Texas (and in this District), (3) derived substantial revenue from the sales
`and/or use of products, such as the infringing Google Wireless Audio System, in the State of Texas
`(and in this District), (4) purposefully directed activities (directly and/or through intermediaries),
`such as shipping, distributing, offering for sale, selling, and/or advertising its infringing Google
`Wireless Audio System, at residents of the State of Texas (and residents in this District), (5)
`delivered its infringing Google Wireless Audio System into the stream of commerce with the
`expectation that the Google Wireless Audio System will be used and/or purchased by consumers,
`and (6) committed acts of patent infringement in the State of Texas (and in this District).
`This Court also has personal jurisdiction over Google because it is registered to do
`business in the State of Texas and has one or more regular and established places of business in
`the Western District of Texas.
`Venue is proper in this District under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b)
`because, as noted above, Google has committed acts of infringement in this district and has one or
`more regular and established places of business in this district. Google has also repeatedly
`admitted that venue is proper in this District for various patent cases. See e.g., Solas OLED Ltd.
`v. Google, Inc. (WDTX Case No. 6-19-cv-00515) and VideoShare, LLC v. Google LLC et al
`(WDTX Case No. 6-19-cv-00663).
`U.S. Patent No. 9,967,615
`Sonos is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 9,967,615 (the “’615 Patent”), entitled
`“Networked Music Playback,” which was duly and legally issued by the United States Patent and
`Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on May 8, 2018. A copy of the ’615 Patent, is attached hereto as
`The ’615 Patent relates generally to technology for facilitating transfer of playback
`responsibility from a user’s device to a media playback system.
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 14 of 88
`The ’615 Patent recognized that “[t]echnological advancements have increased the
`accessibility of music content, as well as other types of media….” ’615 Patent at 1:19-20. This
`allowed users to access audio and video content over the Internet. Id. at 1:21-26.
`the ’615 Patent
`identified a particular problem and provided an
`unconventional technological solution. Specifically, the patent recognized that “[w]ired or
`wireless networks can be used to connect one or more multimedia playback devices for a home
`or other location playback network (e.g., a home music system).” ’615 Patent at 1:66-2:2. This
`means that “[m]usic and/or other multimedia content can be shared among devices and/or groups
`of devices (also referred to herein as zones) associated with a playback network.” Id. at 2:6-9.
`The ’615 Patent is directed to a method, tangible media, and controller that “facilitate streaming
`or otherwise providing music from a music-playing application (e.g., browser-based application,
`native music player, other multimedia application, and so on) to a multimedia content playback
`(e.g., SonosTM) system.” Id. at 2:10-14.
`The ’615 Patent provides an unconventional technological solution to this
`problem. For example, the ’615 Patent describes an “Example Controller” that “can be used to
`facilitate the control of multi-media applications….” ’615 Patent at 9:8-14. “In particular, the
`controller 500 is configured to facilitate a selection of a plurality of audio sources available on the
`network and enable control of one or more zone players … through a wireless network interface
`508.” Id. at 9:14-18. Further, the ’615 Patent describes embodiments that “enable a user to stream
`music from a music-playing application (e.g., browser-based application, native music player,
`other multimedia application and so on) to a local multimedia content playback (e.g., SonosTM)
`system.” ’615 Patent at 12:8-12. More specifically, the ’615 Patent teaches that while “a user
`listens to a third party music application (e.g., Pandora™ Rhapsody™, Spotify™, and so on)” on
`a user device, such as the user’s “smart phone,” the user can “select an option to continue playing
`[the current] channel on her household music playback system (e.g., SonosTM),” which will cause
`the user’s “playback system” to “pick up from the same spot on the selected channel that was
`Case 6:20-cv-00881-ADA Document 1 Filed 09/29/20 Page 15 of 88
`on her phone and output that content (e.g., that song) on speakers and/or other playback devices
`connected to the household playback system.” Id. at 12:44-53; see also id. at 13:1-53.
`The ’615 Patent goes on to teach specific technology for facilitating this transfer
`of playback responsibility from the user’s device to the user’s playback system. For instance, the
`’615 Patent teaches that one aspect of this technology involves causing data for retrieving
`network-based media content (such as a uniform resource locator (URI)) to be passed to a
`playback device in the playback system so that the playback devic