FTC and Google reach agreement on standard-essential patent issueAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
The FTC has spent the past 19 months or so investigating Google on matters related to alleged misuse of standard-essential patents and claims that the company's search results were biased against other websites. Today those investigations came to a close, as the FTC and Google have come to agreements on all matters. When it comes to patents, Google has said that it won't seek injunctions against a company using standard-essential patents so long as the company is willing to license those patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Google has agreed to try to solve its patent disputes using a neutral third party before attempting an kind of injunction.
Google acquired many standard-essential patents when it took control of Motorola Mobility last year. The FTC alleged that Google attempted to get an injunction (or threatened to file for one) against companies using the SEPs it gained from Motorola. With this new agreement between it and the FTC, Google will try to resolve any issues relating to its SEPs through a third party and will attempt to create a licensing agreement with companies before seeking any injunctions. That should help prevent some patent-related lawsuits from happening in the future, which is good to hear since there are already many other patent cases going on in the mobile world.
The FTC also investigated Google over allegations of search bias and claims that the company made it difficult for ad companies to manage campaigns on both Google's AdWords and on other platforms. Today the agency decided to close its investigation into the claims of search bias, saying that it could be argued that Universal Search and the changes made to Google's search algorithms helped to improve Google's product and the experience of its users. On the advertising front, Google has agreed to let websites opt out of specialized Google search pages (like for shopping or travel) and will remove restrictions that may have previously made it difficult for advertisers to manage campaigns on AdWords and competing platforms.