According to sources, Google owned Motorola is being probed by a US antitrust regulator to verify whether they are honoring their pledge regarding licensing standard technology for phones and other devices on fair terms.
The FTC is checking to see if Google has blocked access to patents concerning smartphone technology for their rivals. The agency is gathering information from Microsoft and Apple to conclude if Google intends to file for patents over technology used in operating 3G wireless, video streaming and WiFi, on rational and fair terms. The FTC is trying to determine if Google’s search results are detrimental to their rivals and go against developing a competitive market. It is also focusing on Google’s take on the continuing litigation over industry standard patents that were was started by Motorola before it was bought by Google. These proceedings are crucial as they might obstruct the imports of Microsoft’s Xbox and Apple devices like iPad and iPhone into US.
Industry standard technology ensures that products manufactured such as the software of the global positioning system and phone antennas by different companies work in sync. However, some people with knowledge of the issue at hand believe that antitrust agencies should not be involved in contract disputes.
Companies who work towards technology-innovation are committed to licensing patents of their inventions on fair terms. With handset makers competing for rising shares in the market, patent litigation is fast rapidly increasing. As the world moves towards mobile technologies, the patent problem is becoming a source of worry for many antitrust agencies. A single order against the use of a patent can bring down a company’s market strategy completely. Apple, Microsoft and Google have pledged against blocking standard-essential patents. FTC has suggested that a company should have only limited control over blocking the imports of rival products that infringe upon patents built into into industry wide standards. In the case of Apple and Motorola, out of four claims of patent infringement filed by Motorola, Apple was found to have infringed upon one patent. Should the ITC then favor Motorola and block the imports of iPads and iPhones into the US from Asia?
FTC will be investigating the case of Motorola, while the Justice Department will handle Samsung’s case, for the same issue. It is unclear if the Justice Department has issued to seek information regarding Samsung’s review case as yet.