Google, U.S. regulators close to deal in patents dispute - sources

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:26am IST

A neon Google logo is seen at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

A neon Google logo is seen at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are near a settlement with Google Inc (GOOG.O) in a dispute over the search giant's efforts to stop the sale of products it says infringe essential patents, according to two sources close to the probe.

But the Federal Trade Commission is not expected to reach a deal soon on the larger, more contentious issue of whether Google tweaks its search results to disadvantage rivals in travel, shopping and other specialized searches.

Its rivals say Google fears the specialized sites will siphon away its most lucrative advertising and the revenue that goes with it.

Under the expected settlement, which could be announced this week or next, Google will be required to drop demands for injunctions in lawsuits filed using a special class of patents called standard essential patents, or SEPs, the sources said.

SEPs ensure, for example, that one brand of wireless phone can call another brand.

There would be an exception to the injunction ban, however. Google would be allowed to request injunctions if companies refuse to negotiate SEP licensing at all, the sources said.

SEPs are usually expected to be broadly licensed for a reasonable price. One view is that if a company convinces a standard-setting organization to name its patent as the standard, that company should be barred from asking for an injunction if there is infringement.

The larger investigation, which is more than a year old, addresses search bias as well as smaller items that aggravate Google's rivals in Silicon Valley and beyond.

These include taking data, such as hotel reviews, from non-Google web sites to use on Google products, and preventing the export of data on advertising effectiveness to non-Google software so ad campaigns can be evaluated.

The European Commission is investigating many of the same allegations.

Google's critics, disappointed with the trajectory of the FTC probe, appear prepared to take their grievances to the U.S. Justice Department.

At least one Google adversary met with Justice Department officials recently, pressing them to investigate if the FTC fails to get a satisfactory settlement on search or litigate against Google, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The Texas attorney general's office is also leading a probe into Google's practices.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz; editing by John Wallace)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

TECH DEAL

A view of Microsoft and Nokia signs in Peltola, Oulu July 16, 2014. Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it would cut up to 18,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, as it halves the size of its recent Nokia acquisition and trims down other operations. REUTERS/Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva

Opera's Mini browser to be installed on Microsoft phones

Norwegian software maker Opera signed a deal to take over the browser building unit of Microsoft's Nokia mobile phone unit and reported second-quarter earnings above expectations, sending it shares sharply higher.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

Silicon Valley Women

Silicon Valley Women

Despite lip service, Silicon Valley venture capital still a man’s world   Full Article 

Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

U.S. government's nuclear watchdog victim of cyber attacks - report  Full Article 

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

Online video stars mobilize for U.S. net neutrality  Full Article 

'Heartbleed' Bug

'Heartbleed' Bug

U.S. hospital breach biggest yet to exploit Heartbleed bug - expert  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Infineon agrees to buy Int'l Rectifier for $3 bln in cash  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage