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FTC staff said to formally recommend antitrust lawsuit against Google over FRAND abuse

“Google Inc. should be sued by the Federal Trade Commission for trying to block competitors’ access to key smartphone-technology patents in violation of antitrust law, the agency’s staff told commissioners in a formal recommendation, according to four people familiar with the matter,” Sara Forden reports for Bloomberg. “A majority of the agency’s five commissioners are inclined to sue, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. A final decision on the staff recommendation, made last month, isn’t likely until after the Nov. 6 presidential election, they said.”

“At issue are Google’s efforts to block U.S. imports of products made by Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. by claiming the devices, which rely on industry-standard technology, infringe patents owned by Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, the people said,” Forden reports. “Industry-standard technology helps ensure that different manufacturers’ products, such as mobile phone antennas and global-positioning system software, work together. Companies that create technology that helps develop the agreed-upon industry standard pledge to license patents for those inventions on reasonable terms.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Anything that curtails companies from abusing standards-essential patents in order to protect themselves from charges and/or delay punishments for infringing other companies’ design patents is a welcome development.

Related articles:
Google U.S. antitrust lawsuit said to be urged by FTC investigators over Internet search, FRAND abuse – October 15, 2012
U.S. FTC investigating Google, Motorola Mobility over FRAND abuse – June 30, 2012
EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice – January 31, 2012
Apple asked standards body to set rules for essential FRAND patents – February 8, 2012