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Google’s Antitrust Suit Over Digital Ads Denied Move to NY
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A federal judge has ruled that the Justice Department can sue Google in Virginia, rejecting the company’s efforts to change the venue of the antitrust case to New York. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria noted that there are “just enough” differences between the government’s antitrust case and an ongoing case in New York to warrant keeping the case in Virginia. The decision is an early win for the Justice Department, which filed the lawsuit in January over Google’s alleged illegal monopolization of the digital advertising market. The suit seeks to break up the search giant’s ad-technology business.

Google’s lawyers argued that the case would be better suited to New York, where lawyers could coordinate with a separate consolidated lawsuit against the company focusing on its power over the ad tech ecosystem. The consolidated cases include dozens of private lawsuits against the tech giant and a case led by state attorneys general.

While the cases are similar, the Justice Department’s lawyers argued that moving the case from the Eastern District of Virginia to the Southern District of New York would delay the litigation for years. They noted the need for swift action, given the pace of technological change and the dynamic nature of Google’s anticompetitive conduct across the ad tech industry. The Justice Department’s case against Google marks the Biden administration’s first major case challenging the power of one of the nation’s largest tech companies. It stems from a probe that began under former President Donald Trump.

  
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Google is the dominant player in the lucrative US digital ad market, which brings in billions of dollars per year for the company. Globally, Google earned $168 billion in ad revenue in 2022; this year, its US revenue alone is projected to reach $73.8 billion.

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The Justice Department strategically chose the Eastern District of Virginia to handle the case because its court system is known for handling complex business cases more quickly than other courts. The local rules are designed to expedite the process. The government also argued that the case should remain in Virginia because the commonwealth’s attorney general joined the Justice Department’s case. Some allegations relate to the Department of Defense, headquartered in Virginia.

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During the hearing, Judge Brinkema urged both parties to move quickly, telling them to “put your running shoes on” and noting that she plans to move the case forward rapidly. Google has denied the government’s allegations and has vowed to defend itself in court.

The case has significant implications for the tech industry and the broader economy. If the Justice Department succeeds in breaking up Google’s ad-tech business, it could pave the way for similar actions against other tech giants. It could also increase competition in the digital advertising market, benefiting smaller companies and publishers. However, Google has argued that breaking up its ad-tech business would harm consumers and reduce innovation.



The decision by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema to keep the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Google in Virginia is an early win for the government’s case. The ruling allows the case to proceed without delays that could result from a venue change to New York. The case seeks to break up Google’s ad-technology business and has significant implications for the tech industry and the broader economy. If successful, it could pave the way for similar actions against other tech giants and increase competition in the digital advertising market. Google has denied the allegations and vowed to defend itself in court. With the case now set to move forward rapidly, the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for the tech industry’s future.



 

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