Only a day after Sonos officially sued Google for stealing its tech designs, House antitrust leaders have invited the speaker company to air its grievances in an open hearing.
The hearing, which is scheduled for January 17th, will be the fifth installment of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust investigation into big tech companies like Facebook and Google. Since June of last year, the antitrust panel, led by Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI), has been bringing in witnesses from some of the country’s largest tech firms and their critics to discuss how lawmakers could rein in their market dominance.
Sonos CEO Patrick Spence is scheduled to appear alongside the founder and CEO of PopSockets, David Barnett, and the vice president and general counsel to Tile, Kirsten Daru, at the University of Colorado Law School. PopSockets has long struggled with infringing products, with one executive describing it as “one of the largest counterfeiting and knockoff problems of major consumer brands.”
More witnesses could be called before next Friday, the press release said.
Over the past six months, lawmakers have brought in representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, and a number of academics and tech critics to the hearing room to discuss what should be done, if anything, to regulate large tech firms. The hearings have focused on issues ranging from the effect platforms have had on the news industry to how and why they collect user data.
In its lawsuit, Sonos alleged that after partnering with Google, the tech giant stole the company’s multiroom speaker technology, as laid out in a series of patents. That original partnership was meant to allow Sonos speakers to stream music through Google’s apps, but Sonos says Google stole the designs and flooded the market with its own speakers for cheap, subsidizing the cost by extracting more data from consumers. Google has disputed those allegations, saying it is “disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith.”