Google Faces Clawback: Appeals Tribunal Allows Case To Proceed

Google has been dealt a setback in a $17 billion+ case in the UK. 

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) certified the lawsuit filed by Ad Tech Collective, turning down a bid by Google to dismiss the action.

The case filed in 2022 will proceed to trial and will doubtless be closely followed by attorneys in the U.S.

The suit alleges that Google abused its dominant position in the ad tech market, causing great financial harm to UK online publishers.

The search giant used its position to dictate terms, control pricing and sometimes favor its own platforms, the suit alleges, Press Gazette reported in 2022.

Publishers saw their ad revenues fall by 40%, it adds. 

Google contends that the claims are false. 

“Google works constructively with publishers across the UK and Europe,” said Google legal director Oliver Bethell , according to The Globe and Mail. “This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. We’ll oppose it vigorously and on the facts.”



Google argued that the Collective’s case was insufficiently pleaded and did not have a proper methodology for determining harm to publishers. However, CAT rejected this claim, stating there was an appropriate methodology.

Ad Tech Collective Action LLP will represent all publishers of content on websites or mobile apps that generated revenue from ad units between January 1, 2014 and November 30, 2022, unless they choose to opt out, the Collective says.  

Also represented is a smaller “opt-in” class of publisher partners (resellers), the Collective adds. 

“This is a decision of major importance to the victims of Google’s anti-competitive conduct in ad tech,” says Claudio Pollack, a partner of Ad Tech Collection Action LLP.  

Pollack adds, “Google will now have to answer for its practices in a full trial. I look forward to working with our legal and economic advisers to deliver compensation for years during which the relevant markets did not provide a competitive outcome for the UK publishing market.”


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