UPDATE 2-Google wins antitrust victory in Ohio case

Thu Sep 1, 2011 9:39pm BST

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* MyTriggers.com antitrust claims can't proceed -ruling

* Google accused of favoring itself in search results

* Google faces separate federal antitrust inquiry (Adds myTriggers.com comment, detail on ruling, byline)

By Dan Levine

Sept 1 (Reuters) - An Ohio judge dismissed antitrust claims on Wednesday in a case against Google (GOOG.O), handing the company a victory as it faces a separate federal investigation into its search results.

Google is under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over whether it uses its strength in online searches to thwart competitors, and the Ohio case leveled similar allegations against the Internet search company.

MyTriggers.com, an Ohio-based shopping comparison search Website, accused Google of giving preferential treatment in its search results to Google's own services. It also accused Google of making unfair agreements with other sites to exert control over search advertising.

"MyTriggers is reviewing the decision and considering its next steps," myTriggers.com attorney Jonathan Kanter said in an email on Thursday.

A Google representative declined to comment.

The Ohio attorney general stepped into the case as well, arguing that the myTriggers.com antitrust claims against Google were not precluded by federal law.

In a ruling on Wednesday, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Bessey agreed that the federal Communications Decency Act did not prohibit Ohio state law antitrust claims against Google.

However, Bessey also ruled that myTriggers.com had only identified harm to itself. The law requires it show harm to competition generally, Bessey wrote, and myTriggers.com had not identified other competitors harmed by Google's alleged conduct.

The case in the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Ohio Civil Division is Google Inc. v. myTriggers.com Inc. et al, no. 09CVH10-14836. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (1)
Paige_Like wrote:
Google’s antitrust victory in Ohio will be short-lived. No doubt the attorneys for myTrigger.com will easily get the required list of other competitors harmed by Google’s alleged conduct. After a quick check on SpyFu, it is obvious that numerous sites have had precipitous traffic drop-offs after the Panda update, and some have reacted with a panic online ad spend. Hm. Google makes a change that diminishes a bunch of websites in organic results, then the site’s owners panic and buy Google ads. Fancy that.

Sep 04, 2011 6:30am BST  --  Report as abuse
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