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WSJ: Google considering mobile patent antitrust settlement

updated 07:41 pm EDT, Fri October 19, 2012

FTC said to have evidence parties within Google were worried

Google is reportedly considering settling a potential antitrust claim that may be brought by the Federal Trade Commission regarding Google's handling of standards-essential mobile device patents. The patents case is separate from a larger antitrust investigation in which regulators are looking into whether or not Google is unfairly using its search market leader position to crowd out competitors to its services. Google inherited the patent suits when it bought Motorola earlier this year, but the company has pursued those cases since the acquisition. Reportedly, the FTC believes it can prove that some people within Google knew and admitted to colleagues that Google's handling of the patent cases was wrong.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources close to the case, claiming that the FTC has threatened to bring action against Google over the way that it handles patent licensing. Parties within the commission believe that Google is using Motorola's wireless technology patents as a weapon against Apple, Microsoft, and other competitors.

Should the FTC bring such a case forward, observers are uncertain as to what paths Google might pursue to deal with the action. It is possible that the search giant could pledge to modify its conduct, but such an agreement has not yet been discussed, according to the report.

With regard to its product search results, observers believe that Google might be forced to develop a labeling system whereby search users can see which results stem from an actual search algorithm and which are the result of Google promoting its own services.

by MacNN Staff



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