Google is already facing antitrust charges from Europe’s competition authorities, and very soon it might also become the target of a series of new civil lawsuits accusing the firm of abusing its dominant market and favoring its services over those of rivals, says a report from the New York Times.
New legal platform to help firms sue Google
An online platform has been created by Hausfeld, which is an international law firm, and European public affairs company Avisa, to help companies that have suffered losses due to Google’s tweaking of search results. The platform will help such firms sue the Internet firm in European courts and claim damages. Both Hausfeld and Avisa can hurt Google as the former has ties with the firms affected by Google’s practices while the latter has loads of experience in antitrust cases.
Hausfeld and Avisa will be providing their clients with information on the EU’s four-year competition investigation into Google. The U.S. firm has been accused of favoring its own online search for shopping, restaurant results and other online services, and the entire investigation is focused on determining whether or not its true. If Google is found guilty of breaching the antitrust law, then it is most likely that Hausfeld and Avisa will use this as evidence in their potential civil cases, says the report.
“So far, the focus has been on public enforcement, but what’s still missing is how this has financially affected the victims,” Laurent Geelhand, managing partner at Hausfeld in Brussels, said. Geelhand made no comment on the size of any potential civil damages.
More problems for Google
This new legal platform will add the problems of Google and few other tech companies facing legal and regulatory problems in Europe. The American tech companies will also be affected by the new copyright and privacy rules to be imposed by European regulators in addition to Google’s antitrust investigation, the report noted.
Last week, Google officially rejected the charges imposed by Europe’s competition authorities. Google’s general counsel Kent Walker claimed that no consumer choices were harmed by the company’s activities across the EU. In case some of the Google’s online practices are found to be uncompetitive, the search giant will be required to pay potential fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue in addition to any civil damages.