FTC to Sue Google Over Standard Essential Patent Abuse
U.S. Federal Trade Commission staffers have recommended that the agency's commissioners sue Google over its abuse of standard essential patents. The FTC staffers believe Google and its subsidiary Motorola have violated antitrust laws by attempting to prevent competitors (specifically, Apple and Microsoft) from accessing essential patents. Patents that are deemed standard essential must be licensed at a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (or FRAND) rate. Motorola has asked Apple and Microsoft to license its patents at the rate of 2.25% of the retail price of the applicable devices. For many devices, which would cost about $15 per phone. The FTC has been investigating the issue since June, after reviewing formal complaints from Apple and Microsoft. The European Commission is also investigating Motorola's standards essential patent licensing practices. A formal announcement of the FTC suit against Google is likely to be announced after the general election scheduled for November 6.
Facebook to Make Its Instant Articles Compatible with Google, Apple Formats
Facebook wants content to be more readable across the web and took steps this week toward that goal by tweaking the SDK for its Instant Articles. Facebook's Instant Articles give publishers a way to streamline content for consumption on mobile devices, but Instant Articles aren't compatible with the mobile-first styles used by Google and Apple.
Google Uses Machine Learning to Tweak Sheets
Google today rolled out new features for its Sheets spreadsheet application. Most of the new features target the desktop-based version of Sheets.
Apple Debuts HomePod, Its Competitor to Google Home and Amazon Echo
Apple today announced the HomePod, a new in-home speaker similar to the Google Home and Amazon Echo. It features the Siri voice-based assistant and can act on spoken requests with a focus on music.
Microsoft Accuses InterDigital of Antitrust Behavior
Microsoft has filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital, a patent-licensing firm, for charging exorbitant rates to license standard-essential patents. The two companies have been embroiled in patent litigation for years.
Motorola Owes Microsoft $14.5 Million Over Patent Spat
An appeals court has sided with Microsoft and upheld a 2013 verdict that says Motorola has to pay Microsoft for refusing to license standard-essential patents at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. This particular case began in 2010, when Microsoft sued Motorola for failing to pay it patent-licensing fees for technology found in Motorola's Android smartphones.
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