Google Shopping decision
On 27 June 2017, the European Commission adopted an infringement decision against Google in which it found that Google had abused its dominant position as a search engine by giving more favourable positioning and display in its search results to its own comparison shopping service (Google Shopping) as compared to competing services. The Commission fined Google €2.4 billion, a record fine at the time.
The European Commission launched its investigation in 2010, following a complaint from Infederation Ltd (Foundem), a UK-based vertical search service and a client of Hausfeld. German press publishers’ associations, BDZV and VDZ (also Hausfeld clients) were also early complainants in the investigation. In early 2013, Visual Meta GmbH, a subsidiary of Axel Springer and another client of Hausfeld also filed a complaint. In 2014, Hausfeld’s Berlin team submitted a third complaint on behalf of the Open Internet Project (OIP), an association of over 400 European companies, making Hausfeld the most active law firm in the Commission’s investigation.
Following an appeal by Google in 2017, Hausfeld’s clients (Foundem, VDZ, BDZV and Visual Meta) assisted the European Commission as interveners in a proceeding before the General Court. In November 2021, the General Court rejected the appeal and confirmed the fine. A final judgment by the Court of Justice is expected for late 2023.
In parallel, Hausfeld’s have been engaging with the Commission to ensure full compliance with the Shopping decision as well as the related ban on self-preferencing under the Digital Markets Act.
The Hausfeld London team acts for Foundem in its civil claim for damages against Google before the London High Court (case: HC-2012-000023 Infederation Ltd v Google LLC & Others).
Hausfeld’s Berlin team represents various clients in their follow-on damage claims against Google.