Washington Examiner

New antitrust bill deals legal blow to Google.

Google’s Antitrust Litigation Moved to Unfavorable Court

Google was dealt a blow in its fight against antitrust litigation Monday as the suit was moved to an unfavorable court, thanks to legislation passed by a bipartisan group of Big Tech critics last year.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation remanded Google v. Texas, a case involving the Big Tech giant’s digital advertising practices, on Monday. Google had asked the JPML to consider consolidating the case into one with several private lawsuits in a New York federal court. However, the Monday decision will force the case to be reconsidered in Texas and will expedite the case, a setback for Google.

State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act

The remand was approved due to the passage last year of the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act, which allows states to decide where an antitrust case can be heard. The decision is a notable victory for the legislation’s sponsors, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ken Buck (R-CO), and David Cicilline (D-RI), who passed a bill to ensure federal cases were resolved expediently.

Texas Leads the Charge Against Google

Texas led a group of U.S. states and territories in suing Google in 2020, alleging that it had monopolized the buying, selling, and distribution of digital advertising on its platform, underpaid publishers, and forced advertisers to overpay. Google has attempted to amend and dismiss the case, including an attempt to have the matter considered in California. The case is scheduled to enter its exploratory phase this year.

Big Tech Critics Score Small Victories

The legislation in question was passed in December as part of an omnibus spending bill alongside legislation meant to reform how merger fees are processed. The two measures were small victories for congressional critics of Big Tech, including Lee and Klobuchar, who were trying to enact more thorough legislation, such as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prevent Big Tech companies from “self-preferencing” their own products on their platforms by providing regulators additional powers.

Their efforts were thwarted, thanks partly to a major lobbying campaign by Silicon Valley giants, but they did succeed in attaching the smaller two bills to the must-pass spending legislation.

  • Google’s antitrust litigation has been moved to an unfavorable court in Texas.
  • The State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act allows states to decide where an antitrust case can be heard.
  • Big Tech critics, including Lee and Klobuchar, scored small victories with the passage of two bills in December.

Despite the setback, Google will continue to fight the antitrust litigation as it enters its exploratory phase this year.

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