Report: FTC recommends patent suit against Google

Bloomberg says Federal Trade Commission staff members are recommending that the company be sued for anti-competitive practices.

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has formally recommended that a lawsuit be brought against Google for anti-competitive practices stemming from its technology licensing practices, Bloomberg reported.

A majority of the agency's five commissioners want to bring a suit, Bloomberg said, citing four people familiar with the matter. No decision is expected until after the presidential election next week.

In June, the FTC began requesting information from Microsoft and Apple about Google's willingness to license technology under patents necessary for 3G wireless, Wi-Fi, and video streaming. These are known as "standard-essential patents," and the FTC works to ensure they can be licensed to competitors on fair terms. Google has sought to block Microsoft and Apple products from being imported into the United States.

The company has also pursued litigation over industry-standard patents started by Motorola Mobility against Microsoft and Apple before Google bought the struggling device maker. If Motorola is successful, it could block imports of devices including Microsoft's Xbox and Apple's iPhone and iPad, Bloomberg said.

The lawsuit, if brought, would be separate from the investigation into potential anti-competitive behavior in its search and advertising business .

The FTC wouldn't comment to Bloomberg. A Google spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company is "happy to answer any questions" over its practices.

About the author

Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.

 

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