Google considering mobile patent antitrust settlement

by: Kristofer WoukOctober 20, 2012

Google has been under fire from various government agencies around the world lately who are investigating antitrust and other lawsuits against the company. Now Google is said to be considering whether to settle with U.S. authorities over how it has handled its mobile patents.

Along with Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility in May came a truckload of lawsuits.  Some were Motorola suing companies for allegedly infringing on its patents, others were companies suing Motorola Mobility for refusing to license its patents. Ever since, authorities have been debating whether many of Motorola’s patents are essential to certain technologies, which would require these patents to be licensed, whether Motorola Mobility wants to license them or not.

These types of patents are referred to as FRAND, which stands for “free, reasonable and non-discriminatory.” These patents are generally required to be licensed to ensure interoperability between devices from different manufacturers. FTC lawyers have threatened to bring a case against Google for using Motorola’s patents as a weapon against competitors.

This is not the only instance in which Google is being accused of using its technologies against competitors. Businesses like Yelp have often opined that Google unfairly promotes its own services over those of competitors in search listings. Meanwhile, Google contends that its search results should be treated as opinion and protected by free-speech rights as such. Some have suggested that Google label its own products clearly in search results to resolve this matter.

FTC lawyers have cited certain instances where Motorola might have abused its position as a holder of FRAND patents. In response, Google has been quick to claim that competitors like Apple have acted the same way, suing competitors rather than properly licensing patents.

With the FTC continuing to pursue an antitrust lawsuit against Google, it may be better for them to settle now and pay up, rather than enter a drawn out legal battle. On the flip side of the coin, this could set precedent, causing governments worldwide to begin pursuing litigation against Google as well.

Do you think that Google has violated antitrust law? Do you think that Motorola Mobility is wrong to deny access to some of its patents? Or does the FTC just have it out for Google?

  • HellG

    Crapple who now owns patents for Mobile GUI is let go and Motorola which simply lead the way decades ago in Mobile phones is being kicked on the balls by the American judges! you gotta love america! -_-“

  • aholsteinson

    I am seriously starting to wonder if it was a good idea in the first place for Google to buy Motorola.

  • skynet11

    If anyone is abusing its patents, it’s Apple. The Feds should be going after them. Apple’s patents should be treated the same way as FRAND ones since most of their patents cover basic essentials that every smartphone needs to function.

  • The world goes after Google while Apple has a line up of the world’s behinds to f*ck over. The US Office of Trademarks and Patents is high on meth … and Apple d*ck.

  • 420stoner

    “free, reasonable and non-discriminatory.” It’s fair but free sounds sarcastic. lol. So algebra professor explains functions and their inverses. One easy way he adviced us to think of it is as the evil twin of a function. Well, many many years ago long before the year 2007, Henry Ford is just a normal and intelligent guy. He says the following :
    “I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work…Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a” comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.”

    -Henry Ford

    Steve Jobs, Henry Ford’s evil twin, describes his views in a few words:
    “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

    -Steve Jobs

  • Noah

    Google didn’t acquire Motorola in May, but _Motorola Mobility_ which is only a division of that company.