Federal Trade Commission

Back in December 2012, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice held a joint workshop to explore the impact that patent assertion entities (PAEs — or non-practicing entities/NPEs) may be having on innovation, competition, and the U.S. economy.  The FTC and DOJ invited the public to submit comments for consideration by the agencies, even extending the deadline for submission until early April.  All in all, 68 separate submissions have been received and posted on the FTC/DOJ workshop’s site.

The commenters represent a wide variety of industries and interests, and express divergent viewpoints and positions about the effects of PAE activity.  Many comments focus on the newly-reintroduced SHIELD Act.  Given that the main focus of this blog is on standard-essential patent issues, we won’t even try to give a comprehensive rundown of all of the comments — we’ll leave the focus on non-practicing entities to others.  But several of the comments do express particular concern about the interplay between PAEs, standard-setting organizations and standard-essential patents.  After the jump, we’ll discuss some of these issues that are being flagged as troublesome.


Continue Reading

On March 5, 2013 at 2:00pm, the Intellectual Property Owners Association is holding a webinar to discuss the potential implications that the FTC-Google consent decree may have on the world of standard-essential patents.  The webinar is taking place as part of of IPO’s weekly IP Chat Channel series.  David W. Long, a member of Dow Lohnes’s Litigation group and a co-author of The Essential Patent Blog, will be one of the webinar presenters.  Details on the webinar and information on how to register for it is after the jump.
Continue Reading

FTCYesterday we covered several public comments submitted to the FTC by various professional organizations and trade/industry associations surround the FTC-Google consent decree.  Today, we’re here to tackle the submissions from several large companies that chose to comment on the FTC order.  These companies include Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Research in Motion.
Continue Reading

FTCWe’ve finally sifted through the many public comments submitted in response to the FTC-Google consent decree and proposed order.  As we noted Monday, over two dozen individuals, companies, and organizations representing a wide range of interests submitted comments.  Later this week, we will do a post featuring the details of some of the post submitted by interested companies, such as Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Research In Motion.  But today, we are going to focus on the comments that have been submitted by other types of organizations, which include a veritable alphabet soup of interest groups, professional organizations, and industry or trade associations.
Continue Reading

This past Friday (Feb. 22) was the deadline for the public to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission on the FTC’s consent decree that it entered into last month with Google and Motorola Mobility.  More than two dozen individuals, companies, and organizations chose to submit comments, and their submissions reflected a wide range of interests and opinions about issues relating to both standard-essential patent issues and Google’s search practices.

These comments may be accessed from the FTC’s web site.  In a future post, we will do a deep dive into some of the more interesting comments submitted.  In the meantime, after the jump is a list of the entities that submitted comments, along with links to their web sites:

Today, a notice and request was published in the Federal Register, inviting the public to comment on the FTC’s proposed consent agreement with Google and Motorola Mobility in FTC File No. 121-0120.  This proposed consent agreement would close the FTC’s investigation into certain Google/Motorola Mobility business practices concerning licensing and assertion of standard-essential patents that Motorola previously agreed to license on RAND terms (for more details, see our prior post on the consent agreement).
Continue Reading

In a not-so-surprising development in light of the FTC-Google/Motorola settlement announced last week, Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility asked the ITC yesterday to drop its two remaining standard-essential patents from its Xbox infringement dispute with Microsoft (Inv. No. 337-TA-752).  The two patents dropped from the case — U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,980,596 and 7,162,094 — are alleged by Motorola to be essential to the ITU-T H.264 video coding standard.  Given that the only relief that the ITC may grant is of an injunctive nature (whether an exclusion order or a cease & desist order), Motorola’s action appears to be consistent with the principles set forth in the FTC settlement, in which Google and Motorola agreed to forego seeking injunctive relief for SEPs except in certain extraordinary circumstances.
Continue Reading

Lost in the all of the publicity surrounding the FTC’s consent decree that ended its investigation of Google and Motorola Mobility yesterday is the fact that while the FTC’s decision not to proceed with action against Google for its search practices was unanimous, its decision to issue a complaint and order relating to Google’s enforcement of its SEPs was not — Commissioner Maureen K. Olhausen submitted a dissenting statement.  (Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch issued a separate statement, but voted in favor of issuing the complaint).  The mere fact that the decision was not unanimous isn’t that remarkable in and of itself, as the five-member Commission often reaches split decisions.  However, Commissioner Olhausen’s dissent raises some issues about the FTC’s action that warrant mentioning here.
Continue Reading

In a press conference that took place at 1pm Eastern time today, the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has entered into a consent decree with Google in which Google agreed to forego seeking injunctive relief as a remedy for infringement of SEPs that have been pledged to be licensed on RAND terms.  The FTC voted 4-1 in favor of the decision, with Commissioner Maureen Olhausen dissenting.
Continue Reading