US judge says will order DOJ advertising case against Google to stay in Virginia

FILE PHOTO: A Google LLC logo is seen at the Google offices in the Chelsea section of New York City, U.S., January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/


By Diane Bartz

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) -A U.S. federal judge said on Friday that a Justice Department lawsuit against Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google regarding its dominance of advertising technology would remain in Virginia, rejecting Google’s bid to move it to New York.

“I am going to rule against you,” Judge Leonie Brinkema told an attorney for Google.

The government, which filed the ad tech lawsuit in January along with eight states, accused the company of abusing its dominance of the digital advertising business and argued that it should be forced to sell its ad manager suite, which brought in 12% of the company’s revenue in 2021.

Google has denied any wrongdoing in running its ad tech business.

Google had asked for the case to be moved to Manhattan federal court, where the company is fighting similar claims, including one brought by the Texas attorney general in 2020.

Eric Mahr, an attorney for Google, argued that there was a risk of an inconsistent judgment if the case were not moved to New York.

Justice Department attorney Julia Wood said there would be significant inefficiencies for the federal government if it were required to join the larger case being heard in New York.

Wood also said there were “meaningful differences” between the Justice Department’s case and many of the New York cases.

The Justice Department’s ad tech lawsuit follows a separate lawsuit filed in 2020, the tail end of the Trump administration, that accused Google of violating antitrust law to maintain its dominance in search. That case goes to trial in September.

The lawsuit comes as the Biden administration seeks to toughen antitrust enforcement. Not only is it seeking to rein in a tech giant with its Google suit, but it has a long list of merger challenges.

The search and advertising giant, which also makes a smartphone operating system and owns YouTube, faces antitrust lawsuits around the world with most based on abuse of dominance of one sort or another.

U.S. courts facing transfer requests weigh a variety of factors, including location of witnesses and evidence.


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