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Google considers mobile patent antitrust settlement, report says

The search giant is deciding whether it should settle with the FTC over the agency’s claim that Google refused to grant industry-standard patents to rivals, says a report.

Google is considering a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the agency’s claim that the search giant violated antitrust law when it didn’t grant patent licenses to some of its mobile competitors, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

An unnamed source told the Journal that Google is weighing whether or not it should settle.

When asked for comment on a possible settlement, a Google spokeswoman said only:

“We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions [from the FTC].”

The FTC is investigating whether Google’s Motorola Mobility unit is improperly blocking access to industry-standard technology that should be licensed to competitors according to traditional industry and legal practice.

These types of patents fall into the category of FRAND licenses, which are often the subject of patent suits, including one Apple brought against Motorola Mobility. FRAND — also known as “RAND” in the U.S. — stands for “fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory,” and is based on the principle that fair licensing of intellectual property is needed to for devices from different manufactures to work together properly.

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