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Google wins major antitrust victory in Brazil, could help its case in Europe and the U.S.

Dan Graziano
September 11th, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Google (GOOG) has been at the center of a number of antitrust investigations over the past year in Europe and the United States, among other places. It has been alleged that the Mountain View-based company is unfairly referring traffic to its own services and violating fair competition rules. Earlier this year, a Brazilian shopping comparison website claimed that Google manipulated its search results to promote its own Google Shopper comparison tool over the competition. A Brazilian court was not persuaded by any of the plaintiff’s arguments, however, rejecting every one of them and noting that Google is not a monopoly, Search Enginge Land reported.

“There are several search services at the disposal of the consumers who are looking for products, and at the disposal of the merchants intending to attract consumers. Google’s leadership in the internet search segment in Brazil cannot be mistaken with a monopoly of that activity,” the court ruled. “Plaintiff does not need and is not dependent on Google Search to [be found by consumers]. The users may access Buscapé and Bondfaro sites without passing through Google.”

The court also said that Google is not required to present another company’s website in a particular position and is free to display its search results in any manner it deems appropriate.

Due to the similarities of the Brazilian plaintiff’s claims and the claims of those around the world, Google could potentially benefit from the court ruling in Brazil in other markets such as Europe and the U.S. While the ruling has no legal bearing in other countries, the court’s use of broad legal ideas and arguments could benefit Google’s defense in other regions.


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