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UK Court Rules Lawsuit Against Google Can Go To Trial

UK Court Rules Lawsuit Against Google Can Go To Trial

Sarah Hardacre June 25, 2024
June 25, 2024
London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that a 13.6 billion pound ($17.4 billion) lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive practices can go forward.

The claim was brought by Ad Tech Collective Action in November 2022. The group represents a number of publishers in the UK who claim to have suffered financial losses as a result of Google’s alleged anti-competitive practices. The claim seeks to recover damages to compensate website and app publishers and their partners.

The publishers allege that Google has used its market dominance to favor its own products in search results, reducing the amount of web traffic to smaller competitors – and, therefore, their ad revenue.

Google has sought to block the claim from moving forward, describing the case as incoherent and asserting that “Google’s impact in the ad tech industry has been hugely pro-competitive.”

The CAT ruled that Ad Tech Collective Action’s claim is “properly pleaded” and “triable.” However, the tribunal also noted that it did not judge the merits of the publishers’ allegations, which it said “need only satisfy a very low threshold at this stage.”

The case is not expected to go to trial before the end of 2025.

The CAT’s greenlight on this claim follows other claims against tech giants it has ruled could continue. Earlier this year, the CAT confirmed a $3.8 billion case could go forward against Meta, and a nearly $1 billion case could go forward against Apple.

Following the ruling, Claudio Pollack, a partner of Ad Tech Collection Action, said, “This is a decision of major importance to the victims of Google’s anti-competitive conduct in ad tech. Google will now have to answer for its practices in a full trial.”

Google is also facing a $2.3 billion lawsuit in the EU brought by news agencies from 17 European countries. The agencies claim they have lost advertising revenue due to Google’s alleged abuse of its dominant position.

Google is also fighting two lawsuits in the United States, one by the federal Department of Justice and the other brought by a group of states. While some have speculated that the landmark federal trial could result in the breakup of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), the Justice Department has not yet specified the remedial actions it seeks if it wins.

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