Great news! The FTC announced today that it will no longer be investigating antitrust claims against Google, as the two companies reached a settlement. Essentially, Google had been trying to license essential patents to Microsoft and Apple at unreasonable prices. One thing you need to know about the patent system is that standard-essential patents must be licensed under FRAND terms (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory). These patents in particular are ones which are vital to achieving certain necessary actions.
“Under a settlement reached with the FTC, Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles…
The build up to this has been going on in the background for quite some time, with lawsuits and disputes in a variety of countries and continents. The news today is good news for Apple, who will now be able to pay a fair price to use patents owned by Google.
It doesn’t affect Apple vs. Samsung, but along with the cross licensing deal with HTC a little while back, it does show that the legal battleground may just be starting to clear.