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  • Google Ends FTC's Antitrust Investigation by Licensing Motorola Patents

    Google recently warded off an antitrust investigation from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by agreeing to license certain patents to its rivals in the mobile industry. The FTC recently announced that Google agreed to license “essential patents” to competitors such as Apple, some of which were acquired in its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. According to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz:

    The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy. This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the Commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements.
    Google will be allowing competitors fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to patents essential to smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles. The search giant also agreed to give advertisers more flexibility to manage their ad campaigns with Google’s AdWords along with rival ad platforms. The company also agreed to stop lifting content from “vertical” websites, which focus on categories such as shopping or travel, and presenting it in its own vertical offerings. The FTC found that Google’s business practices could stifle competition in markets for devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as online search advertising. According to Bet Wilkinson:

    The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require significant changes in Google’s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission. Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However, the FTC’s mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google’s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law.
    Basically, Google has agreed to take the following steps as detailed by the FTC:

    • Google will not seek injunctions to block rivals from using patents essential to key technologies
    • Google will remove restrictions hampering advertisers’ management of their ad campaigns across competing ad platforms

    The FTC also announced that it has closed another investigation into allegations of search bias by Google. The commission took a closer look at Google’s “Universal Search” product, but eventually concluded that changes made to Google’s search algorithms could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience for its users. The FTC staff initially recommended that Google be sued via antitrust law over FRAND patent abuse. The FTC began its civil investigation into Google just last July originally. Google also ran into trouble with the FTC last year for bypassing settings in Apple’s Safari browse, where it had to pay a record $22.5 million fine for ignoring security settings Apple had designed to prevent advertisers from tracking users with cookies.

    This is definitely a big win for the mobile industry and should help with patent litigation safety going forward.

    Source: DailyTech
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Google Ends FTC's Antitrust Investigation by Licensing Motorola Patents started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. cgfusion's Avatar
      cgfusion -
      Not to mention Google took many trips to Washington, basically paid off Washington to slap their wrist. What a waste of tax payer money this was. Don't take a year to investigate and only slap them on their wrist, nit sure who's more crooked, Google or Washington's politicians.......it's a tie.
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Please people now that google got 1/100 of the publicity apple does (who can blame its an apple website) you can see patents are how all companies work!
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      why dont apple just develop workarounds instead of crying that they cant use other companies patents.