FTC May Sue Google over Unreasonable Licensing Terms

According to a new report, Google has run afoul of the FTC, which is an unenviable spot to be in. Sources told Bloomberg that FTC staff has formally recommended the suit to the group’s commissioners.

The issue is whether Google misused its patent portfolio to make it difficult for the competition to license Google-owned patents and then sued those same companies for patent infringement. Primarily, according to the report, the infringed-upon patents are ones Google acquired when it bought Motorola Mobility, and they pertain to 3G, WiFi, and video streaming technology.

FTC building
FTC building in Washington, D.C.

Google inherited some of that litigation when it acquired Motorola, but the FTC may take umbrage with the fact that Google continued with the legal actions.

The FTC staff’s recommendation is apparently the result of a formal probe launched in June. Because the FTC recommendation isn’t yet a matter of public record, it’s unclear what the agency’s timetable is for the proceedings.