The US FTC announces an unusual proposed consent agreement to resolve unprecedented allegations on enforcement of standards-essential patents (Bosch / SPX)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission this week announced a highly unusual proposed consent agreement reached with Robert Bosch GmbH ("Bosch") that permits Bosch's acquisition of SPX Service Solutions U.S. LLC ("SPX Service Solutions") from SPX Corporation ("SPX") to proceed. More significantly, it also resolves unprecedented allegations that SPX had engaged in an unfair method of competition in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act by pursuing injunctive relief with respect to patents that it had allegedly promised to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory ("FRAND") terms. This consent agreement reflects the FTC's most aggressive position to date with respect to use of standards-essential patents; it also illustrates the potential for the FTC to hold a company's deal hostage

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