Back in 2011, search giant Google bought Motorola Mobilty for $12 billion. At the time, it was believed a driving force behind the acquisition was Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio. Now, as Sara Forden of Bloomberg reports, that portfolio has gained the attention of the Federal Trade Commission:
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should sue Google Inc. for trying to block competitors’ access to key smartphone-technology patents in violation of antitrust law, the agency’s staff told commissioners in a formal recommendation, according to four people familiar with the matter.
A majority of the agency’s five commissioners are inclined to sue, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. A final decision on the staff recommendation, made last month, isn’t likely until after the Nov. 6 presidential election, they said.
As the tech patent war continues to rage, Alexel Oreskovic and Poornima Gupta of Reuters report two heavy hitters in the tech space are tentatively talking:
Google Inc Chief Executive Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been conducting behind-the-scenes talks about a range of intellectual property matters, including the mobile patent disputes between the companies, people familiar with the matter said.
The two executives had a phone conversation last week, the sources said. Discussions involving lower-level officials of the two companies are also ongoing.
If the Reuters report is correct, any conversations that keep the smartphone revolution from being mired in patent disputes are cause for celebration.
The tech patent land rush continues, with two titans agreeing to a massive deal. As paidContent’s Jeff John Roberts reports:
Facebook announced today that it will pay $550 million to Microsoft for the right to 650 patents and patent applications.
Microsoft acquired those patents and hundreds of others in a deal with AOL earlier this month.
Between this and Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of mobile photo sharing app Instagram earlier this month, the social networking giant is currently on a big spending spree.
This is a big one. Yahoo! is suing Facebook for a score of patent infringements. Via Kara Swisher of All Things Digital:
In what is either the boldest gamble of its history or the most boneheaded, Yahoo has filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook.
The attack by the Silicon Valley Internet icon against perhaps the most powerful consumer social networking site today — also based in tech’s heartland and also an important partner of Yahoo — is sure to be a controversial one, pitting Yahoo against a company that has surpassed it handily in recent years in regards to popularity among consumers.
“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology,” Yahoo’s lawsuit reads, in part.
Over at Paid Content, Jeff Roberts examines the 10 patents cited in the suit. Meanwhile, TechDirt’s Mike Masnick thinks the suit will backfire on Yahoo!:
If this plan is actually based on some clueless exec’s idea of how to boost Yahoo’s share price, not only is that sadly mistaken, but it also kills off the only chance Yahoo might have had to boost its sale price going forward. Stupid, anti-innovation patent lawsuits against better, faster, more innovative competitors might seem like a short-term strategy that makes sense, but in Silicon Valley, it’s the death knell of any company.