Alphabet subsidiary Google faces damages of up to €25.4 billion across two court claims filed on behalf of publishers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Following concerns from publishers, antitrust regulators have recently scrutinized Google’s ad tech. Last year, the French competition authority fined Google €210 million, while the European Commission and its UK counterpart are probing whether Google’s ad tech business offers the tech giant an unfair edge over competitors and advertisers.
Google vows to fight the lawsuit
Damien Geradin, the lawyer that led the winning case against Google in France, is heading the cases in the UK and the Netherlands. In a statement on Tuesday, Geradin said it is past time for Google to accept responsibility and start repaying the damages it has caused to a vital industry. Geradin said that this is why it announced actions across two jurisdictions to get compensation for EU and UK publishers.
Google has condemned the impending litigation, claiming that it collaborates productively with European publishers. A spokeswoman for the corporation said that the lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic, adding that when the complaint is made, the company will fight it forcefully.
Legal troubles in the EU
The British complaint to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal will claim damages for all website owners who use banner advertising, even traditional publishers. The UK has an opt-out system.
Both lawsuits are being sponsored by Harbour, a London-based litigation funder with a “76 percent success rate” mentioned on its website. The similarity of the claims is most likely due to variations in the legal systems for filing antitrust class-action style lawsuits within and outside the EU.
Meanwhile, Google is being sued by PriceRunner. This price comparison business is demanding billions of dollars in compensation after accusing Google of violating a 2017 EU antitrust judgment concerning its product cost comparison service.