The smartphone patent war could take a radical turn in the coming weeks as the Federal Trade Commission considers moving forward with an antitrust lawsuit against Google. Speaking with reporters from Bloomberg under the condition of anonymity, four individuals familiar with the matter confirmed that a group of FTC investigators have formally recommended that their superiors move forward with charges against the company.
According to Bloomberg, the central point of contention is Google's insistence on blocking the import of competing products by claiming the devices infringe upon intellectual assets recently acquired from Motorola Mobility. Microsoft, Apple and others have rebuked this assertion, claiming the patents are standard-essential to the mobile industry.
"There is a tough emerging attitude by antitrust regulators who've recognized that the failure to honor standard-essential patent commitments needs to be treated much more severely than in the past," American Antitrust Institute president Bert Foer told reporters.
In a secondary subplot, many have speculated that the Department of Justice could be investigating claims of similarly anti-competitive patent licensing behavior from Samsung. Although neither case has been confirmed, Bloomberg's sources suggested that federal regulators may come forward with formal charges shortly following the presidential election.