Google has lost its second major patent case months after Sonos won a lawsuit over its speakers. Now a Texas court has ruled that the company has infringed a patent held by EcoFactor, a smart home energy management company.
The lawsuit was filed in 2020 and in it EcoFactor alleged that Google’s Nest line of thermostats infringed two of its patents. However, the court found that only one patent was infringed.
One that has to do with the method in which Google’s thermostats turn off HVAC systems to save energy once the house has warmed up enough.
EcoFactor specifically points to Google’s Early-On feature, which calculates when to start heating or cooling the house based on the schedule and time.
As a result of the verdict, Google will have to pay more than 20 million dollars in a fine that tries to compensate the damage caused to EcoFactor by the copying of this functionality by Sundar’s company Pichai.
Google spokesman José Castañeda told Reuters the company plans to appeal the verdict and the decision should not affect its customers.
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This is, notably,the second major patent lawsuit Google has recently lostsince it was found to infringe five key Sonos patents related to Google’s smart speakers and displays.
As a result of that case, Google had to adjust the way it handles volume controls on its smart devices, allowing it to avoid an import ban on its smart speakers.
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This is the price to be paid by companies that have businesses in all sectors, where it is very easy to resort to plagiarism or copying if not paid attention.
Furthermore, companies the size of Google have no problem paying fines in exchange for improving their devices against their rivals.