by Dennis Crouch
Sonos has filed its notice appealing Judge Alsup’s recent decision in Sonos v. Google that rendered two Sonos patents unenforceable due to prosecution laches. After being awarded $32 million by a jury, Sonos saw its verdict flipped by Judge Alsup in a harsh ruling accusing the company of “wringing fresh claims to read on a competitor’s products from an ancient application.” To mount its appeal, Sonos has enlisted Supreme Court heavyweight Josh Rosenkranz, head of Orrick’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice alongside the trial team led by George Lee. Dan Bagatell, Perkins Coie’s head of Federal Circuit Patent Appeals Practice has filed an appearance in the case for Google.
The appeal will likely focus on several key issues from Judge Alsup’s ruling:
Priority Date: A core finding by Judge Alsup was that new claim language added by Sonos in 2019 constituted improper “new matter” that undermined the priority date for the asserted claims. However, the addition of new language does not necessarily destroy an earlier priority date. Sonos will argue on appeal that the claims were still adequately supported under enablement and written description standards.
Prosecution Laches: While agreeing Sonos diligently prosecuted its patents over 13 years, Judge Alsup still found unreasonable delay and prejudice to Google.