Judge tosses private antitrust case against Google

The suit, which Google alleged was a plot by Microsoft to dig up dirt on the company, gets dismissed for not establishing broad antitrust harm.

An Ohio judge dismissed a private antitrust case brought against Google by a tiny company that runs an online shopping comparison search engine.

The suit gained prominence because small company, myTriggers, was being represented by Rick Rule and his prominent Washington, D.C., law firm, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Rule has long been a key Microsoft lawyer on antitrust matters.

His representing a tiny Web company in an Ohio state court--as well as a small New York firm, Tradecomet, which filed a separate private antitrust case against Google--led Google to, at one point, accuse Microsoft of trawling for complaints against its Web rival in order to use the legal system to learn more about Google's business practices. The Tradecomet case, too, has been dismissed and a New York appeals court has rejected its bid to overturn that decision. Microsoft has denied any involvement in the suits.

The myTriggers suit claimed that Google manipulated search results to penalize it. Those claims came after Google had filed its own suit against myTriggers seeking $335,000 in unpaid bills.

The ruling, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, found that myTriggers didn't meet its burden of proving its antitrust claim that Google's actions caused any harm to competition broadly.

"The counterclaim only alleges harm to myTriggers itself," Judge John P. Bessey wrote. "myTriggers' allegations do not meet the necessary standard for pleading an antitrust injury."

Both Google and Cadwalader declined to comment on the ruling.

About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

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