Sonos Sues D&M Holdings for Patent Infringement of Wireless Audio Products

November 21 2014, 01:00
This may be from my “word-to-the-wise” department, given the number of Sonos clone products that have proliferated in the market place, but Sonos has filed a lawsuit against D&M Holdings in the state of Delaware over Denon’s HEOS wireless home audio product line. Sonos says D&M Holdings infringes on at least four of its patents. Craig Shelburne, co-founder and general counsel for Sonos, maintains that D&M Holdings (the parent company of Denon and Marantz, currently doing business as D+M Group) is infringing on several Sonos patents in a blog posted on the Sonos website. According to Sonos, many of the features built into the Denon system utilize elements that have already been brought to market by Sonos and the company has come to the conclusion that it needs to take legal action. You can read the 258 page filing by downloading the full pdf on Sonos blog post.

In its blog post, named “Protecting What We Invented,” Craig Shelburne says “we laid out an approach designed to increase visibility to our patent filings, so others could more closely track the innovations at the heart of the Sonos music experience. It is a simple proposition for anyone interested in how our system works, including our competitors: Read. Learn. Create your own experience. But don’t merely copy.”
“Unfortunately, since that time, we have watched as several companies have entered the wireless home audio space with product features, designs and messaging strikingly similar to Sonos, without truly moving the experience forward in any way.”

“We evaluated whether D&M Holdings violates other intellectual property rights of Sonos and have learned that D&M Holdings’ manufacture, distribution, and/or sale of the HEOS system infringe a number of Sonos patents related to wireless audio products. Because of these violations, we filed a lawsuit in Delaware, our state of incorporation.
“This is not an action we take lightly, as we’re not fans of resorting to the courts to resolve disputes. As a next step, we will offer to sit down with Denon, explain our views and give them time to modify their products. We are not asking for a royalty or other license fee – we just want Denon to build an experience that isn’t copying ours.”
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Meanwhile, D+M Group CEO Jim Caudill already responded, stating that it will protect itself against the patent infringement complaint filed by Sonos, Inc. in regards to D+M’s HEOS by Denon products, which are widely available in the marketplace.
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