Google Agrees to Give Up Injunction Relief in Connection with

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Jan 4, 2013 4:57 PM EDT Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove
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The big news in the tech world yesterday was the announcement by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it was terminating its review of Google’s business practices without requiring significant changes to the search giant’s advertising practices. But a very important aspect of the FTC’s settlement has received little attention – Google’s agreement not to seek injunctive relief in the future in connection with any “standards essential patents” (SEPs) that it owns

Without going back through all of the facts at issue in this particular case, the central question that has been much discussed in both standards as well as regulatory circles is whether injunctive relief should be available at all where the defendant has agreed to negotiate for a license to a SEP, but claims that the terms offered by the SEP’s owner do not meet the FRAND test.

Because Google and the FTC have opted to settle on this point, the question remains open from a legal perspective. But Google, at least, has agreed that it will not seek injunctive relief in either U.S. federal courts, or before the International Trade Commission, a once little-noticed venue that has lately been the site of some of the fiercest battles in the mobile device wars. And unlike the elements of the settlement that related to search priorities, Google’s commitments relating to SEPs are contained in a formal Consent Decree.

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