Google To Change Business Practices in Response to FTC Investigation
The Federal Trade Commission has been stepping up its activities in the patent arena recently. Today, the agency announced that Google has agreed to change some of its business practices in order to resolve an FTC investigation into potentially anti–competitive practices involving patents on standardized technologies used in smart phones, laptops, tablet computers, and gaming consoles. Under the agreement, Google has agreed not to seek to enjoin rivals from using patents essential to key technologies, a tactic it has used in district court and International Trade Commission litigation. In a separate part of the agreement, the search engine giant will agree to remove restrictions limiting advertisers’ ability to manage ad campaigns on Google’s online search advertising platform. The FTC found that certain changes to Google’s advertising platform, while plausibly justifiable by the company as improvements to Google’s product, had the potential to harm individual competitors. Google has agreed to changes that the FTC asserts will alleviate those concerns.
The FTC will take public comments on the proposed consent agreement until February 4 on its website at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/motorolagoogleconsent.
The FTC’s press release in full can be found here.