U.S. FTC investigating Google, Motorola Mobility over FRAND abuse

“A U.S. antitrust regulator has opened a formal probe into whether Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit is honoring pledges it made to license industry-standard technology for mobile and other devices on fair terms, three people familiar with the situation said,” Sara Forden reports for Businessweek. “The Federal Trade Commission has issued a civil investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, to the owner of the Android mobile operating system as it scrutinizes whether Google is improperly blocking rivals’ access to patents for key smartphone technology, one of the people said.”

“The agency is also seeking information from companies including Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. as it investigates whether Google intends to license technology under patents that help operate 3G wireless, Wi-Fi and video streaming on fair and reasonable terms, another one of the people said,” Forden reports. “Another focus of the FTC probe, the person said, is Google’s decision to continue litigation started by Motorola Mobility over industry-standard patents before Google bought the company.”

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. The FTC investigation follows the opening of formal probes of Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics Co. for the same issues by the European Commission earlier this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: SupercaliFRANDilisticexpialidocious!

Related articles:
EU launches 2 antitrust probes against Motorola Mobility following Apple, Microsoft complaints – April 3, 2012
EU considers investigation of Motorola Mobility over complaints brought by Apple and Microsoft – April 2, 2012
Motorola’s alleged double-dipping on iPhone 4S could be massive EU antitrust violation – March 1, 2012
Apple racks up FRAND win against Motorola Mobility in Germany – February 27, 2012
Microsoft joins Apple in FRAND patent fight in EU against Motorola Mobility – February 22, 2012
EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice – January 31, 2012
EU opens antitrust investigation into Samsung over patents – January 31, 2012

16 Comments

    1. anything that should be considered remotely standard essential or a standard for the industry should be licensed by the standard comity. such patents should not cost anything to use if they are standard essential. and the inventor owns it but does not control it

  1. Decision to investigate sends a message to Google along with the recent import bans of Sammy and Google branded CopyUs iPonhey Smart-RipOff POS ……

    Apple will now more for injunction against newest SamDung products …..

  2. While its fun to speculate,, I would guess that they will do what Europe did, Make FRAND companies license at at fair rate. Apple will settle with a large payment for past items and s set reasonable rate for the future.

    The key thing is not Apple paying, but the lawsuit goes away for Motorola and Samsung for FRAND issues.

    1. That really is all Apple and Microsoft wants to do, Apple has offered no less than six times before this went to trial reasonable rates for frand licensing from motogoogle. They have been told both of them that motogoogles price is 2.5% of the sales of the end products that use them. So Motogoogle wants 2.5% of the revenue from the iPhone, iPad, xBox, Windows (each copy of windows), and Mac book pros and Airs as well.
      That is extortion. No company would accept those terms, and none should. In apple and microsofts case they both use chips from a third party vendor that implement those standards and that vendor has paid the royalties already. Which would amount to about a nickel for every chip sold. Instead Motogoole wants 2.5% of the end price of any products that use them. Which is double dipping and illegal.
      As well as the price being around 4000% above the frand rate.

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