Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nears Settlement in Patent Case

Persons familiar with the ongoing case have said that Google, Inc is drawing close to a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission concerning allegations that the company violated antitrust laws by attempting to block access to smartphone technology that is protected by patents that it owns.

The people who wish not to be named until settlement terms are final said that the FTC will likely announce this week that it has reached a consent decree that will limit Google’s ability to seek injunctive relief against competitor’s product that rely on industry standard essential patents. The agreement does not completely ban Google seeking injunctions against use of patents they own, except when the company has licensed the technology’s use on “fair and reasonable terms.”

At the center of the issue were Google’s efforts to block US imports of Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) products by claiming the devices, which rely on industry-standard technology, infringe on patents owned by Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, the people said.

In June the FTC opened a formal probe into the matter, when it began seeking information from companies including Microsoft and Apple about whether Google offered licensing for technology under patents that help operate 3G wireless, Wi-Fi and video streaming on fair and reasonable terms, sources familiar with the matter said at the time.

“We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions the FTC may have,” Adam Kovacevich, a Google spokesman, said. Cecelia Prewett, a spokeswoman for the FTC, declined to comment.

Stock Price Performance: (30-Day) Between November 12, 2012 and December 11, 2012, Google, Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock price increased USD $19.52 (+2.93%) from USD $665.90 to $685.42. Microsoft, Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) stock price decreased USD $1.28 (-4.53%) USD $28.22 to $26.94. Apple, Inc (NASDAQ: APPL) stock price decreased USD $13.01 (-2.39%) USD $542.83 to $529.82.

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