13 November 2017

Google Search (Shopping) appeal

Google has appealed the European Commission’s infringement decision in Google Search (Shopping), along with the record-breaking fine imposed of €2.42 billion. The Decision found that Google abused a dominant position as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its comparison shopping service.Google’s pleas to the General Court, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 30 October 2017 (available here), argue that the European Commission was wrong to find that Google favoured its own comparison shopping service. The appeal also argues that the Decision erred in its finding that the allegedly abusive conduct “diverted” search traffic and in its finding that the conduct was likely to have anti-competitive effects, particularly as a result of a failure to take proper account of the competitive constraint exercised by merchant platforms like Amazon and eBay on comparison shopping services. Finally, the appeal argues that the Decision erred by treating quality improvements as abusive and that given the novelty of the case (as well as the fact that the Commission selected the case for commitments), a fine is unwarranted.The case number for the action before the General Court is T-612/17 (Google and Alphabet v Commission).RBB has advised Google on this case since its beginnings in early 2010. RBB also advises Google on a range of other competition matters, including the Google Android and Google Search (AdSense) EC cases.

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