The Federal Trade Commission has issued a civil investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena, to the owner of the Android mobile operating system as it scrutinizes whether Google is improperly blocking rivals' access to patents for key smartphone technology, one of the people said.
Earlier this month, the FTC filed a statement with the ITC, which is charged with protecting U.S. markets from unfair trade practices, suggesting that companies should be limited in their ability to win orders blocking imports of competitors' products over the use of patents built into industry-wide standards.
Apple has repeatedly accused Motorola of not licensing its FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) patents fairly.
"Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago," said Apple, referring to Motorola's push email patent.
Apple has asked the ETSI to outline rules for licensing standard essential patents. Following this request, the European Commission opened two antitrust investigations into Motorola Mobility.