The Federal Trade Commission has requested that the International Trade Commission not consider import bans against Microsoft and Apple products that infringe standards-essential patents owned by Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary. The FTC sent a memo summarizing its position to the ITC on Thursday, noting that allowing import bans based on FRAND-encumbered patents could "cause substantial harm to US competition, consumers, and innovation."
At the heart of the matter are two ITC complaints levied by Motorola Mobility (prior to the Google acquisition) against Microsoft and Apple. Both Microsoft and Apple filed complaints against Motorola related to its use of the Android operating system. Motorola retaliated by charging that both companies infringe its patents with their use of H.264 and wireless 3G standards, respectively.
The ITC has ruled that Microsoft and Apple do indeed infringe on some of the patents in question. However, Motorola agreed to license those patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms in order to have those patented technologies incorporated into various standards. Seeking exclusionary orders based on such standards-essential patents runs counter to the original FRAND agreement and threatens to dismantle current and future standards-making processes, according to the FTC.