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.
In September 2017, Google appealed the Commission’s decision to the General Court. Hausfeld’s clients (Foundem, VDZ, BDZV and Visual Meta) were granted permission to intervene in support of the Commission in Google’s appeal and participated in the General Court’s proceedings. The hearing of Google’s appeal of the Google Shopping decision took place on 12-14 February 2020 before the General Court – the General Court’s judgment is pending.
In parallel, Hausfeld’s clients are engaging with the Commission and other comparison shopping sites regarding the monitoring of Google’s proposed compliance with the Commission’s decision. In that regard, Prof. Dr. Thomas Höppner, Partner in Hausfeld Berlin, has released a book titled “Google’s (Non-) Compliance with the EU Shopping Decision” during 2020. To download.
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. In addition, Hausfeld’s Berlin team represents the Centre of the Picture Industry (CEPIC), European press publishers, and the OIP in further investigations against Google that are still pending.