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By Craig Shelburne, Sonos Co-Founder + General Counsel
Twelve years ago, I was fortunate enough to join the initial team at Sonos that set out to reinvent home audio. We believed this could be achieved by marrying software, audio hardware and online music services, and we’ve focused exclusively on this mission since day one. The result? We created an entirely new category of speakers that are wireless and multi-room. During this time, we’ve developed numerous key inventions, displayed in our products and explained in detail through more than 200 patent filings. For many years, we felt alone in our mission, but always knew a time would come when that would change.
Today, wireless speakers and systems represent the fastest growing segment in home audio. The market has seen numerous new entrants, from start-ups you’ve possibly never heard of to bigger brands you might know. This is great news for consumers because more competition should only improve everyone’s experience with music at home.
Our patents reveal to the public key foundational elements we created that enhance the music experience in the home. We know that others can – and will – benefit from the time, energy and investment we have put into our patented inventions, not to mention our products themselves. And we welcome that learning, but with an honorable caveat: use it to create differentiated products, rather than merely incorporating or copying our invention without our permission. While we recognize the existence of abuses in the marketplace that cross this ethical line, we still believe patents can and should be used for the benefit of all – by helping accelerate innovation.
Looking ahead, in the interests of being transparent and eliminating surprises, we will be ‘forward-publishing’ our patent applications well before they are available to the public (which is usually 18 months after the patent application). We are doing this for anyone or any company that might be interested in the patents we are seeking.
We will do this for all patent filings going forward – with one obvious exception: applications that cover inventions that are not yet in publicly available Sonos products. Our website, http://www.sonos.com/legal/terms/#patents, provides a link for all of our published U.S. patents and patent applications. Over time, this link will also include our forward published applications as the USPTO updates its database. In addition, we will endeavor to include similar links for our non-U.S. patents.
To our loyal listeners, many thanks for your continued support. You can always count on us to continue working hard on more exciting innovations that will help fill your home with music like never before.