Google Appeases FTC By Agreeing to New Patent Behaviors
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has settled its ongoing investigation of Google's potentially anti-competitive business practices. In order to settle the investigation, Google has agreed to alter its behavior on a number of fronts. First, it has agreed to cease seeking bans on devices that may infringe its standard essential patents. Second, it has agreed to adhere to the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing practices expected of standard essential patents. "We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets." Third, Google has agreed to give online advertisers more control over their AdWords advertising campaigns. As far as Google's search practices are concerned, the FTC decided that Google is not favoring its own products and services, as some competitors alleged. Instead, the FTC believes Google's Universal Search "could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience of its users." The FTC has closed its investigation of Google.