The Internet of Things, a daunting challenge in dispute

My Camille Aubin, Catherine Thall Dubé, Elodie Dion and Bob Sotiriadis. Source: Robic website

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My Camille Aubin, Catherine Thall Dubé, Elodie Dion and Bob Sotiriadis. Source: Robic website

A tough patent dispute has been settled by the Federal Court between Sonos and Google.

Sonos and Google were in dispute over the intellectual property that supports the operation of speakers with the ability to do voice recognition, and to execute commands based on those voice commands.

Google accused Sonos of infringing its Canadian patent on adaptive sound control technology used in smart speakers. For its part, Sonos argued that Google’s patent was invalid due to obviousness and lack of inventiveness.

This dispute, which is the subject of legal battles in the United States and Europe, was settled by the Federal Court, which ruled in favor of Sonos.

This was one of the first judgments relating to the Internet of Things. The intersection of advanced technologies and intellectual properties has proven to be a challenge for lawyers and judges alike. Russell W. Zinn. These loudspeakers are made up of many patented technologies, with none of them being central to the product.

This case illustrates how lawyers are led to change their practices, in an area where knowledge of the law is not enough to understand the file, considers Mr. Camille Aubin of the firm Robic, which represented the firm Sonos.

The Robic team, led by Me Camille Aubin, was also made up of Me Catherine Thall DubeMe Elodie DionMe Bob Sotiriadisand the patent agent Dominique Nolet. The latter was “one of the cornerstones of the team”, greets Me Aubin.

The complexity and combination of technologies used in voice recognition loudspeakers are pushing the way of proceeding to evolve. “This changes the way in which lawyers must approach cases,” considers Me Camille Aubin, who emphasizes the multidisciplinary approach necessary to deal with such cases.

“We made sure that members of the team had the required knowledge of the technologies. This pays off when cross-examining the experts. »

A loudspeaker offered to the judge

This is because the degree of complexity has reached a particularly high level. In simple mechanics, it is easy to understand if you are comfortable with mechanics, illustrates Me Camille Aubin. “When it comes to technological complexity, expert support is essential because these technologies are not as intuitive as simple mechanics. »

This complexity can be vulgarized by taking simple steps to facilitate understanding of a case heard for only two weeks. “We sent a loudspeaker to the Court, reveals Me Camille Aubin. We suggested he use it to see what it’s for, how it works. The judge and his clerk tested the product. In the judgment, the judge describes the operation of the loudspeaker, indicating that he manipulated the device to understand its operation. “Access to technology allows the judge to understand what the case is about”, points out the lawyer, who insists on the care that must be taken to “accompany the Court in this learning process”.

Judge Zinn showed an interest and an openness to learning about these technologies, which illustrates the attitude of all judges, believes Me Aubin, even if “it can be insecure for lawyers and judges alike to deal with technologies which they had never heard of before”.

This judgment only foreshadows a growing tendency to deal with cases in which complex technologies are entangled. “These disputes imply that lawyers must understand the software and the code”, provides Me Camille Aubin.

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The Internet of Things, a daunting challenge in dispute


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