The FTC is reportedly looking into whether or not Google is improperly wielding the FRAND patents it acquired as part of its Motorola buyout a few months ago.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a civil investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, to the owner of the Android mobile operating system as it scrutinizes whether Google is improperly blocking rivals’ access to patents for key smartphone technology, one of the people said.
The agency is also seeking information from companies including Microsoft Corp. and Apple as it investigates whether Google intends to license technology under patents that help operate 3G wireless, Wi-Fi and video streaming on fair and reasonable terms, another one of the people said. The people declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The FTC investigation is also taking a look at Motorola’s ongoing litigation, which predate its acquisition by Google, where it’s asserting standard essential patents against companies like Microsoft and Apple. Recall that standard essential patents must be licensed out to all-comers on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.
Following its acquisition of Motorola, Google made assurances that it will license Motorola’s standard essential patents out on fair and reasonable terms so I suppose the investigation will reveal if they’ve lived up to that promise.