The Federal Trade Commission has opened a formal investigation into whether Google is licensing Motorola Mobility's patent on "fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory" terms, which the Internet giant had promised regulators it would do when it acquired Motorola, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.
Google completed the $12.5 billion cash deal for Motorola Mobility on May 22, an acquisition that was driven as much for its people and products as for its rich trove of 17,000-plus patents, executive chairman Eric Schmidt said at Google's annual shareholders meeting last month.
"We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement to Bloomberg.
FTC spokesman Mitch Katz declined to confirm whether the agency is conducting a probe.
In February, the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division cleared Google's takeover of Motorola Mobility while noting that "how Google may exercise its patents in the future remains a significant concern." The European Commission also approved the Google-Motorola deal, though it similarly said it would keep "a close eye" on the sector.
As part of the probe into Google's patent-licensing practices, the FTC is seeking information from companies including Apple and Microsoft, Bloomberg reported. In addition, the agency is investigating Google's decision to continue litigation initiated by Motorola Mobility prior to the acquisition.