Google wins small victory in antitrust suit

Google won a significant minor battle with yesterday's dismissal of TradeComet.com's private antitrust suit - yet the war goes on.

By now, you've doubtless heard that Google is facing intense scrutiny, with regulatory bodies in the United States and the European Union looking into the search giant's business practices. But Google won a significant minor battle with yesterday's dismissal of TradeComet.com's private antitrust suit - yet the war goes on.

TradeComet's case was simple, as the company claimed that Google had purposely and unfairly demoted its sites' ranking on search result pages in order to squelch competition.

The suit was dismissed over lack of venue, as TradeComet filed in New York but Google insisted that any cases have to be filed in its home county in California. A court agreed once in March 2010, dismissing the case for the first time, and now TradeComet has lost its appeal, too. The full ruling is available here.

It remains unclear what TradeComet's next steps are, but in an e-mailed statement making the rounds, the company insists that the suit's dismissal was a matter of procedure and that its claims are substantiative and strong. We could potentially see a new suit filed in California, or TradeComet could attempt to escalate to the Supreme Court -  if it doesn't drop the case entirely.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, TradeComet.com's case is even more notable given the company's apparent links to Microsoft. In fact, Charles “Rick” Rule, Microsoft's outside antitrust counsel extraordinaire, represented TradeComet in this case. Microsoft has denied any involvement in any lawsuits against Google.

Another interesting side note is that Rule is also representing myTriggers.com, which, with this news, is now the only outstanding private antitrust suit against Google in the US.

Needless to say, Google can't rely on a dismissal every time, and I remain curious to see how the search giant defends itself when the time comes.

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