With their recent acquisition of Motorola and their essential technology patents, Google Inc. has also received a civil investigative demand from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
If you remember, Motorola was locked in a battle with Microsoft and Apple regarding their essential patents and fees for licensing of the technology. Currently, the FTC is looking into antitrust implications stemming from key patents involved.
While the acquisition may be complete, and Google claims it intends to honor fair licensing practices, the FTC is still working diligently to assure the matter is resolved in a way which complies with current guidelines and regulations regarding fair use and licensing agreements.
Google's formal position on the matter was summarized in a comment by one of their spokespeople:
"We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions."
The acquisition of Motorola was subject to extreme scrutiny by regulators, and the U.S. Justice department before the $12.5 billion deal was allowed to close. Regardless, the FTC is intent on making sure all Google's dealings regarding the essential patents, are fair and fall within guidelines.
The FTC made no formal statement about the recent civil demands, but we can assume it's all part of how they intent to ensure fair competition. The overall idea is to not allow these types of disputes to stall creativity and innovation, but it seems like this one between Apple, Motorola, and Microsoft has been dragging on forever. Many hoped Google's acquisition of Motorola would end the conflict, but it is yet to be seen. We'll keep you updated.