This lawyer is building a platform for companies to seek antitrust redress from Google

Antitrust specialist Hausfeld is setting up the Google Redress and Integrity Platform to help companies sue Google in European courts

The antitrust cases against Google in Europe could soon be multiplying: Lawyers for one of the complainants in the European Commission's antitrust action are setting up a platform to help companies file civil suits seeking damages from the search giant for anticompetitive behavior.

Even if the Commission wins its long-running antitrust battle with Google, the companies that complained about its business practices will get no redress for past wrongs, only undertakings that Google will change its behavior in the future.

Several of them, including comparison shopping site Foundem, one of the initial complainants, and mapping service Streetmap EU have already taken to the U.K. courts, seeking redress for what they allege is anticompetitive behavior on Google's part.

Now U.S. legal firm Hausfeld, which is representing Foundem in its case in the U.K. High Court, is setting up a group to help other companies evaluate their chances of winning damages in a case against Google.

GRIP, the Google Redress and Integrity Platform, set up with public affairs consultancy Avisa Partners, won't just focus on comparison shopping, the target of the Commission's statement of objections against Google, but will cover the whole range of Google services, including mapping, video, mobile operating systems and search.

The group has the indirect support of the Commission, which last year moved to make it easier for companies and individuals to bring private antitrust actions against companies in Europe.

The Commission is still mulling what to do about its case against Google, which could result in a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's worldwide revenue. In April the Commission filed a formal statement of objections accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in search to gain an advantage in comparison shopping, a charge Google rejected last week.

The Commission is also investigating whether Google unfairly requires smartphone makers to install Google apps on their products alongside the Android open-source OS.

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Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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