WASHINGTON Nov 1 A Federal Trade Commission
staff report has recommended that the government sue Google for
violating U.S. antitrust law because it asked courts to stop
sales of some products which infringe on its essential patents,
Bloomberg reported Thursday.
The five-member commission is inclined to vote in favor of
suing Google, the Internet search engine giant,
Bloomberg said, quoting unidentified sources.
Apple, Google and Microsoft have sued each
other many times in various countries, each alleging that their
respective patents are being infringed upon by rivals in the
highly competitive smartphone space.
In many cases, the companies ask for their rivals' products
to be banned from stores because of infringement.
In a few cases, the patents involved are considered
"standard essential patents," which holders pledged to license
on fair and reasonable terms. Many antitrust enforcers believe
it is inappropriate for companies to ask for sales bans based on
infringement of essential patents.
Google has sued both Apple and Microsoft in the United
States, saying the companies infringed on standard essential
patents, according to Florian Mueller, an expert on the
smartphone patent wars.
The FTC is looking into a long list of complaints brought by
rivals of the search giant, which is also accused of using its
dominance to squash rivals in vertical search areas like
shopping and travel.
Google declined to discuss the report, saying "we take our
commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and
non-discriminatory terms very seriously."
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in mid-September that he
expected a decision in the case by the end of the year. A
decision could be a lawsuit or, more likely, a settlement.
Google has had a series of settlements with U.S. law
enforcement agencies in recent years.
For example, it settled with the FTC following privacy
gaffes during the botched rollout of its social network Buzz,
and later paid $22.5 million to settle charges that it bypassed
privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari browser.
Google also paid a $500 million settlement in 2011 to the
Justice Department for knowingly accepting illegal
advertisements from Canadian pharmacies selling in the United