FTC may sue Google over antitrust violations stemming from FRAND patent abuse
The staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recommended to the commission that Google should be sued for violation of antitrust laws regarding patents. Google is attempting to block import of products from both Apple and Microsoft, which rely on industry-standard technology, and the FTC may be inclined to sue Google in order to get them to offer reasonable licensing deals. Google’s efforts are actually a continuation of those of Motorola Mobility, purchased by Google late last year. One of the key factors in Google’s decision to buy the company was their portfolio of patents, many of which cover industry-standard technology such as 3G wireless and video streaming. The FTC investigation revolves around questions of licensing. Bloomberg’s Sara Forden reports reports:
The FTC opened a formal probe into the matter in June, when it began seeking information from companies including Microsoft and Apple about whether Google offered licensing for technology under patents that help operate 3G wireless, Wi-Fi and video streaming on fair and reasonable terms, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
For its part, Motorola Mobility says that they have offered reasonable licensing deals to both Apple and Microsoft, which neither company would agree to pay. This all comes as the US Justice Department has begun investigating Samsung’s potential abuse of industry-standard technology patents, which are in addition to probes of both Motorola Mobility and Samsung in Europe over the same issues which began earlier this year. The FTC is expected to make its decision on whether or not to sue Google after next week’s election.
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