Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) - with plenty of investor support, including billionaire Julian Robertson - has been embroiled in a very public antitrust case with the Federal Trade Commission, which had claimed that Google has been squeezing out competition in its search results. However, the FTC ruled in a 4-1 vote that it found no evidence that Google produced biased search results in favor of its own properties like YouTube. As part of the FTC dropping its investigation, Google did have to give in to one point.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was ordered by the FTC to drop all of its current cases in which the company is pursuing injunctions against competitors which were alleged to have violated standard-essential patents owned by Google's Motorola Mobility division. The order didn't specifically address the cases involved in the order, but the FTC referred to those cases that were brought by Motorola Mobility before it was bought by Google early in 2012. The order stated that as long as those who allegedly violated those standard-essential patents are willing to license those patents, then Google should not pursue any injunctions in a U.S. federal court or with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Those who supported the order suggested that it presents some insight into how to handle FRAND licensing of standard-essential patents owned by Motorola Mobility and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are among those who have been pursued by Motorola for alleged patent violations.
While Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) seemed amenable to the order, a blog post seemed to indicate that pursuing injunctions were still on the table. “We will seek to resolve standard-essential patent disputes through a neutral third party before seeking injunctions,” wrote the company's chief legal officer, David Drummond.
In another part of the order, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) agreed to change some business practices, which includes modifying its search results to change how it shows content from non-Google-affiliated Web sites. What do you think of the settlement? How do you see this affecting the tech sector going forward? Share your thoughts below!
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