Posted on 27th June, 2019


Yesterday we brought news of Sonos’s move against Lenbrook International, the parent company of Bluesound, regarding alleged patent infringements. Well, Lenbrook has broken its silence to talk to StereoNET.

You probably read yesterday’s report that “Sonos is asking for an injunction on allegedly infringing Lenbrook products, as well as an award for damages and an enhancement of damages for willful infringement.”

Lenbrook International has provided StereoNET with a statement in response to the Sonos claim which you can read in its entirety on the Lenbrook website.

Lenbrook respects the valid intellectual property rights of others, and in fact, has entered into many patent licenses over its 40-year history. The Bluesound brand and technology platform was developed and funded by Lenbrook, a private Canada-based company. This proprietary development has relied on 40 years of internal or contracted Lenbrook know-how in the areas of amplification, acoustics, and connected audio allowing Lenbrook to develop products delivering high-resolution audio files and streaming music throughout residences and commercial establishments.

Lenbrook denies the allegations and says that:

Lenbrook’s high-resolution audio capabilities substantively differentiates Lenbrook’s products from those of Sonos and many other of Sonos’ actual direct competitors. Lenbrook believes it is generally recognised by the industry as the first legacy audio company to deliver such a complete and differentiated solution to the audiophile marketplace.

Sonos Vs Lenbrook

Lenbrook’s statement also says that in November 2018, “Sonos sent letters to multiple audio companies, including Lenbrook, providing notice that Sonos believes that they all infringe certain Sonos patents.” Now, this does give the impression that Sonos is employing a scatter-gun approach to litigation, here.

As we stated previously, we are not disputing the fact that Sonos carved out what has become the extremely popular niche of wireless multi-room audio. However, the company may have been caught napping just as Apple seems to have with its iPhone range with stiff competition coming from not only Samsung but Huawei, Xiaomi and others.

Lenbrook goes on to state:

As a final point of clarification, Lenbrook agrees that it was indeed the distributor for Sonos in Canada briefly for 10 months from approximately July 2007 to May 2008. In fact, Lenbrook has been a Canadian distributor (its original platform business) for over 40 years representing scores of respected “non-Lenbrook owned” brands across the audio, custom installation, professional communications and wireless communication industries. Lenbrook continues to be a trusted distribution partner to the brands it represents in Canada. Lenbrook considers Sonos’ suggestion that its 10-month Canadian distributorship of Sonos products somehow allowed or led Lenbrook to copy Sonos’ designs or ideas to be meritless and damaging to the reputation and value of the Lenbrook enterprise.

With the rise of smart speakers equipped with Google Home and Amazon Alexa capability, together with the now established Apple Airplay and DTS Play-Fi wireless technology, Sonos really needs to innovate more to keep its reputation for providing consumers with cutting-edge audio solutions. Gone are the days where you can simply trade on reputation.

StereoNET is keeping a close eye on how this case develops and will keep you updated.

Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi Lifestyle Integration Smart Homes & IoT Industry
Tags: lenbrook  bluesound  sonos