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Hagens Berman Announces Nationwide Antitrust Class-Action Lawsuit against Google
|By Business Wire
|May 1, 2014 07:36 PM EDT
Hagens Berman, a consumer rights class-action law firm, today announced
it has filed a nationwide antitrust class-action lawsuit against Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) claiming the search engine giant illegally monopolized,
and financially and creatively stagnated the American market of internet
and mobile search.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
of California, alleges that Google’s monopoly of these markets stems
from the company’s purchasing of Android mobile operating system
(Android OS) to maintain and expand its monopoly by pre-loading its own
suite of applications onto the devices by way of secret Mobile
Application Distribution Agreements (MADA). According to the suit, these
agreements were hidden and marked to be viewed only by attorneys.
According to the suit, Google’s role in placing this suite of apps,
including Google Play, and YouTube, among others, has hampered the
market and kept the price of devices made by competing device
manufactures like Samsung and HTC artificially high.
“It’s clear that Google has not achieved this monopoly through offering
a better search engine, but through its strategic, anti-competitive
placement, and it doesn’t take a forensic economist to see that this is
evidence of market manipulation,” said Steve Berman, attorney
representing consumers and founding partner of Hagens Berman. “Simply
put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition
licenses to pre-load popular Google apps like this.”
The complaint claims that if device manufacturers bound by Google’s
distribution agreements were free to choose a default search engine
other than Google, the overall quality of Internet search would improve.
“The more use an internet or mobile search engine gets, the better it
performs based on that use,” Berman said. “Instead of finding a way to
legitimately out-compete other internet and mobile search providers,
they instead decided to choke off competition through this cynical,
The complaint notes that Google’s monopoly not only suppresses its
competition but also keeps the company itself from improving.
“This comes down to a combination of Google’s power in the U.S. general
mobile search market and their power in the realm of tablet and
smartphone manufacturers,” Berman said. “As a result of the pricing
conspiracy, everyone loses. Google and its competitors face an
uncompetitive, stagnant market, and consumers are forced into one
According to the lawsuit, Google’s MADAs are contracts in restraint of
trade that are designed to maintain and extend its monopolies in general
search and handheld general search.
The lawsuit claims Google is in violation of a variety of federal and
state antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act, the Clayton Antitrust
Act, California Cartwright Act and California Unfair Competition Law.
The named plaintiffs include Gary Feitelson, a resident of Louisville,
Kentucky and owner of an HTC EVO 3D mobile phone, and Daniel McKee, a
resident of Des Moines, Iowa and owner of a Samsung Galaxy S III mobile
phone. According to the complaint, in both situations, the owners’
phones should have cost less and had better search capabilities as the
result of competition that would have ensued, had Google’s MADA
restraints not existed.
The lawsuit seeks to represent all U.S. purchasers of any Android OS
mobile telephone or tablet as to which Google and the manufacturer of
such device has entered into a contract or contracts, including the
MADA, by which Google has conditioned the right to pre-load any
application from a suite of Google applications on to manufacturer’s
The lawsuit seeks damages for individuals who have purchased these
devices at an artificially high price due to Google’s alleged
price-fixing, anticompetitive restrictions.
Concerned consumers are encouraged to contact a Hagens Berman attorney
by emailing [email protected]
or calling (206) 623-7292.
Additional information about the investigation is available at http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/Google.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law
firm with offices nine cities. The firm has been named to the National
Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm
and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com.
The firm’s class-action law blog is located at www.classactionlawtoday.com.
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