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FTC urges US to sue Google over anticompetitive practices

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recommended that the US government sue Google for violating antitrust laws related to its patented technology.

According to Bloomberg, the US regulatory body urged the government to pursue legal action against Google for asking courts to stop the sale of products they claimed infringed their patents. However, the antitrust enforcers believe that these patents are standard-essential, meaning holders like Google and Microsoft have pledged to license on fair and reasonable terms.

Google has sued both Apple and Microsoft in the US, saying the companies infringed on standard-essential patents, according to patent expert Florian Mueller.

The FTC considers these practices a breach of US antitrust laws and is looking into a long list of complaints brought by the company's rivals. The search giant is also accused of using its dominance to squash rivals in vertical search areas like shopping and travel.

Google declined to discuss the report, telling Bloomberg "we take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms very seriously."

Meanwhile, the FTC expects a decision on the case later this year, which could either result in a lawsuit or a settlement.

Google has settled with US law enforcement agencies in the past. It settled with the FTC following privacy blunders during the failed launch of its social network Buzz. The company later paid $22.5 million (£14 million) to resolve charges that it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari browser.