Google Files Answer to United States Antitrust Suit, Generally Denies Claims

On Monday Google filed an answer to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and several states’ October antitrust suit against the tech giant in the District of Columbia District Court for antitrust violations, allegedly arising from its illegally maintained monopolies in the general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising markets. The plaintiffs sought to restrain Google and to remedy the effects of its purported conduct.

According to the filing, Google generally denied the allegations in the complaint. Nevertheless, Google admitted items such as its history; parent company Alphabet Inc.’s capitalization and revenue for 2019; that it has entered into agreements with various mobile device manufacturers, carriers, and browser developers to promote its products and services; that it runs advertisements on consumer search queries; that it utilizes and advertisement auction system; and other facts of a similar nature. Google stated that its “mission has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” as a result, Google has allegedly “developed, continually innovated, and promoted Google Search for use by consumers all over the world.” Google proffered that “(p)eople use Google Search because they choose to, not because they are forced to or because they cannot easily find alternative ways to search for information on the Internet.”

Google also asserted various affirmative defenses, the first of which is that the United States’ “claims are barred in whole or in part for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Second, the defendants argued that “(a)ny and all of Google’s actions alleged by Plaintiffs were lawful, justified, procompetitive, and carried out in Google’s legitimate business interests and constitute bona fide competitive activity.” Finally, Google said the relief the DOJ and states are seeking “would be contrary to the public interest, harm consumers, and is otherwise inequitable, impractical, and unworkable.”

Google has sought for the complaint to be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice, an award for costs and fees, and other relief as determined by the court. Google is represented by Williams & Connolly LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C. and Ropes & Gray LLP.

Additionally, Texas led a coalition of states that filed another antitrust suit against Google in December over its purported ad monopoly, Google has faced a third major antitrust action against it in two months, this one brought by various states and territories sued Google for leveraging its size, influence, and large data collection efforts to shut out competition in the general search services, general search text advertising, and general search advertising markets. This also comes after consumers sued Google for antitrust violations in the app market on Android phones in relation to the Google Play Store.