Thursday, January 3, 2013

Google Agrees to Change Business Practices to Resolve FTC's Concerns

On January 3, 2013,  the FTC announced it has reached an agreement with Google to change some business practices. The agreement, reached after 19 months of investigation, grants competitors the ability to license Google's standard-essential patents (e.g., obtained from the Motorola Mobility acquisition) at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Google cannot seek injunctions of the SEP unless the infringer is unwilling to license the SEP under FRAND and follows certain procedures. The FTC's concern was granting injunctions based on SEPs would be used to hold up competitors in an industry where interoperability is required to compete. The agreement also gives advertisers greater flexibility to use rival search engines.

The FTC's press release Google Agrees to Change Its Business Practices to Resolve FTC Competition Concerns In the Markets for Devices Like Smart Phones, Games and Tablets, and in Online Search has the details and links to the related papers.

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