The brief by the FTC comes less than a week after a court in Seattle refused Motorola an injunction on Microsoft's products over standards-essential patents. The decision is intended to apply to a similar dispute between the two companies in Germany, wrote Judge James L. Robart of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.
The U.S. International Trade Commission also plans to look into FRAND issues, including whether an undertaking to license a patent on FRAND terms precludes a ban on a product if it infringes the patent, as it reviews an earlier decision that Apple did not infringe four patents of Samsung Electronics in its mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad.
This is not the first time the FTC has raised questions about product bans around standards-essential patents. In a statement in the public interest on an ITC investigation into complaints by Motorola against Microsoft and Apple, FTC said in June that ITC's ban orders in matters involving implementation of standards-essential patents, that were committed to be licensed on FRAND terms, have the potential to cause substantial harm to U.S. competition, consumers and innovation. (The agency made a similar testimony to the U.S. Congress in July.